News from MSU Media Relations--September 29

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Men's Golf, Soccer, Women's Tennis, Volleyball and Women's Golf.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Chelsea Bramlett drove in four runs, and Allie Heon and Jessie Bailey accounted for five and six RBIs, respectively, as the Mississippi State softball team pounded out a 24-2 win over Jones Junior College Sunday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field. In the second game of the twin bill, freshman Lindsey Dunlap struck out nine over four and a third innings to lift State to a 2-0 victory over West Alabama.

Against the Tigers, Dunlap, a Hueytown, Ala., product, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning and allowed a single hit and a walk in earning her third victory of the fall.

The Bulldog offense plated the deciding runs in the fifth inning. Bailey led off the inning with a double down the line in right field. She scored as Brittany McGee over-threw first on Jessie Spain's sacrifice bunt attempt. Spain, who advanced to second when the over-thrown ball went out of play, plated MSU's final run when Brittany Gates' bunt attempt was also thrown away at first base.

"We hit the ball really well in the first game of the day. I thought out bats were back on track, and then we struggled in the second game. That partly comes with being a young team," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "Overall, I was pleased with the way we played, especially the defense and the pitching. Elizabeth (Woolven) threw really well for us, and I was pleased to see the way Lindsey Dunlap worked out of a jam."

In the opener against Jones, State erased a 2-0 first-inning lead with six of their own in the home half of the frame. Bramlett led off with a single, and after stealing second, scored on a Heon double to right field. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Heon scored on a Ka'ili Smith ground-out. Sammie Jo Bailey put the Bulldogs up 3-0 on her sacrifice bunt which plated Brittany Bell, who walked.

Ali Bainbridge reached on an infield single and scored on Jessie Bailey's base hit before Bramlett capped the inning with a fly ball to right field that was dropped, allowing Bailey and Courtney Nesbit, who walked, to score.

MState followed that stellar start with eight more runs in the third. Heon put MSU up 8-0 as her base hit up the middle scored Bramlett and Brittany Gates after they led off with a pair of bunt singles. After advancing into scoring position on a Brittany Bell base hit and wild pitch, Heon made it a 9-0 game on Smith's infield single to second base.

Sammie Jo Bailey pushed the lead to 10-0 with her RBI ground-out that scored Bell. Her sister Jessie and Bramlett capped the frame with a pair of two-run doubles.

Miller's squad pushed the advantage to 17-0 in the fourth off an Ali Bainbridge two-run triple and a Nesbit sacrifice fly, and they capped the game with seven runs in the fifth.

Heon started the frame with a single and later scored on a passed ball. The Bulldogs then loaded the bases on a Smith walk and back-to-back hits from Laurie Siebert and Bainbridge. Smith made it a 19-0 lead as she scored on a Nesbit shot to right that was misplayed. Bailey extended the cushion to 22-0 with her bases-clearing double, her second of the game. Heon capped the scoring as her shot to right field was misplayed, allowing Spain, who walked, and Jessie Bailey to score.

Woolven allowed the two first inning runs on a hit, but she settled down the rest of the way, limiting Jones to just two hits while striking out four over four innings. Dunlap tossed a perfect final two frames, striking out five.

State concludes the fall season on Oct. 14, hosting Shelton State Community College in a doubleheader that is set for a 4 p.m. first pitch.

Men's Golf
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The Mississippi State men's golf team had its first top-five finish of the season after the Bulldogs' third-place showing at the Mason Rudolph Championship. The Bulldogs fired a three round score of 850 for 2-under-par at the par 71 Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. The 850 tied the seventh-best 54-hole score in Mississippi State history.

"I am very happy with the way we played," said head coach Clay Homan. "Third place is not bad considering the way we started."

The Bulldogs began the tournament with a 7-over-par 291 on the first day of competition to fall to 10th place after day one. However, MSU would begin their comeback on day two by firing a 2-under-par, 282 to climb into sixth place. The Bulldogs finished off the tournament by posting the tournament's lowest round with a 7-under-par 277 on the final day of competition to finish the tournament in third place. The 277 tied for the second best third-round score all-time at MSU.

"Our guys got it done today," said Homan. "Anytime you can have three guys shoot under par in one day, it's going to be a good day."

MState senior Carlos Sainz, Jr. had his second top-ten finish in as many tournaments this season, finishing eighth after his 2-under-par finish. The Elgin, Ill.-native shot 1-under-par in round one, followed by a 2-over-par showing, and finished the championship with a 3-under-par 68 in round three. Redshirt freshman Lee Heaton shot a team-best 5-under-par 66 in round three to finish in a tie for ninth place and post his first top-ten finish of his career. Senior Noah Goldman finished in a tie for 14th after notching an even-par 213 through three rounds of play which included a second round 4-under-par 67. Senior Josh Bevell shot a consistent 74-72-73 for a three round score of 219 to tie for 35th, while Senior Matt Fast, tallied a 227 and tied for 74th.

Mississippi State's next competition will come Oct. 6-7 at the Memphis Intercollegiate in Cordova, Tenn.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State junior goalkeeper Taryn Holland turned in a seven-save performance Sunday, but the Bulldogs were unable to find the net offensively as they dropped a tough 1-0 decision to SEC foe Arkansas at the MSU Soccer Field.

The Bulldogs fall to 5-6 on the year and 0-2 in league action, while the Razorbacks improve to 9-1 and 2-0 in conference play.

State came out and dictated the pace of play through the opening 12 minutes of the match, out-shooting UA 5-0 during that stretch.

"We came out today and played really well over much of the first half," MState head coach Neil Macdonald said. "Our defense made some big plays for us today, but we just couldn't get the ball in the net."

State's first attempt on goal came at the 12-minute mark as Hannah Tyler lined a shot that UA goalkeeper Britni Williams managed to snag. Williams continued her solid play in goal, halting three shots.

The Bulldogs managed their other two attempts on goal in the second half on consecutive efforts. On the first, freshman Tarah Henderson worked the right side and fired a shot from just outside the box, but Williams was able to make the stop. Just under a minute later, sophomore Danielle Kite found an opening and lined a ball toward the net only to have it knocked away by Williams.

The only score of the match came with 15:47 left in the opening half. Kat Moffet's shot deflected off of Holland's hands, and McVean found herself in perfect position to put the rebound into the net for her third goal of the year.

Holland's seven stops on Sunday bring her career tally to 210, placing her just nine back of Jennifer Croisant's third-best total that she set in 1995 and 1996.

State returns to the road next weekend with a trek to Alabama and Auburn. The Bulldogs meet the Crimson Tide Friday at 7 p.m. in Tuscaloosa before trekking to Auburn to face the Tigers on Sunday in a match slated for 2 p.m.

Women's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - With doubles play already behind them, Mississippi State's women's tennis team picked up a couple of victories in singles action on the final day of at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic Sunday.

With six players competing in six different draws, MSU picked up two victories behind the play of senior Elna de Villiers and junior Valeriya Makarycheva. De Villiers fought past Kiara Powell of Georgia State to pick up a win, 6-3, 4-6, 1-0(3). Meanwhile, Makarycheva defeated Sarah Irvin of Memphis 6-1, 6-3 to post State's second and final victory of the day.

In other action, freshman Natalya Mayuk, who had advanced to the finals of her bracket, came up just short after an impressive showing all weekend, falling in the title match of the Bronze Draw 6-0, 6-3 to Taylor Lindsey of host Alabama.

Lady Bulldogs Olesya Tsigvintseva, Radka Ferancova and Elizabeth Hall all dropped straight-set decisions in their respective draws to conclude play.

With play at the Roberta Alison concluding, MSU will next be in action next weekend (Oct. 3-5) at the Hoosier Classic in Bloomington, Ind.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State opened its 2008 SEC home volleyball schedule in exciting fashion Sunday, turning back SEC West foe Auburn in a five-set thriller (25-14, 25-18, 19-25, 18-25, 15-13) at the Newell-Grissom Building. It was MSU's third straight win over the Tigers (5-10, 0-4 SEC) and the fourth in the last five meetings for the Bulldogs (6-8, 1-2 SEC).

The match pitted two of the SEC's more youthful volleyball teams. The combined rosters for Auburn and State featured 15 freshmen and but two seniors. But more impressive performances in the match would be turned in by veteran players.

Junior outside hitter Ioana Demian registered a career-high and match-leading 22 kills and sophomore middle blocker Ashley Newsome matched a career-best 13 kills to pace Mississippi State. Auburn got a solid 15-kill, .324 hitting performance from senior outside hitter Jessica Glover.

"With so many young players on the court for both teams, we knew this would be an interesting match," said fifth-year Bulldog head coach Tina Seals. "We played very well early in the match and got on a roll in winning the first two sets. We knew Auburn wouldn't just roll over, and they picked up their level of play after the break to force a fifth set. Our young players are getting better with each match, but today it was the play of our veterans --- Ioana (Demian), Ashley (Newsome) and Dorey (Gray) --- that made the difference."

Demian and Newsome tallied four kills each and the Bulldogs hit at a .320 clip in taking the opening set 25-14. State zipped to a 6-0 lead and never trailed in the opening set. It was Auburn that held the upper hand in the second set. Three early kills by Glover helped the Tigers claim a 7-3 edge and minutes later a Bulldog attack error put Auburn up 16-11. But the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run, forging into the lead at 17-16 on a service ace by freshman Faith Steinwedell. Another Bulldog freshman, Leanna King, served up a pair of aces during an MSU spree that saw State out-point Auburn 8-1 to close out a 25-18 win. Demian tallied five kills and Mandy Mellencamp added four more as State took a 2-0 match lead at the break.

Auburn clawed back into the match with a 25-19 win in the third set and never trailed in evening the match with a 25-18 win in the fourth set. Auburn hit .350 and played error-free on the attack, while State had a combined 21 hitting errors in the third and fourth sets.

The Tigers' momentum continued in the deciding fifth set, with Auburn claiming early leads of 3-1 and 5-2. State pulled even at 5-5 on an ace by Steinwedell, and knotted the score six more times before pulling away from a 13-13 deadlock with an ace by Demian and a match-ending block by Newsome and Steinwedell.

"Each match is a learning experience for our team," said Seals. "We've been in several of these five-set matches this season and have not been able to finish any of them. Today we were able to take that next step and finish the match. We were a little more aggressive with our serving today, so we had more aces (12), six of them by Leanna King, and more serving errors (19) than in any of our previous matches."

Junior setter Dorey Gray recorded her third double-double of the campaign, backing a career-high 39 assists with 12 digs. Kayla Woodard finished with a team-best 14 digs while Faith Steinwedell reached double-digit status with 10.

Newsome, who entered the weekend with an SEC-leading 53 total blocks, paced MSU at the net with five assisted blocks.

State faces two of its stiffest challenges of the season when it resumes league competition and begins its October schedule this weekend in Starkville. The Bulldogs host South Carolina (11-2, 3-1 SEC) Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 10 Florida (10-1, 4-0 SEC) Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Newell-Grissom Building.

Women's Golf
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Currently ranked 39th in the nation by Golfweek, Mississippi State's women's golf team will begin the second tournament of the young season on Monday at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Mo. State's squad will be competing against 16 other schools, including 43rd ranked host Missouri. The Lady Bulldogs enter the tournament as the highest ranked team in the field.

Leading the competition for Mississippi State entering Monday's rounds will be freshman Hannah Weathersby, who finished her first collegiate tournament tied for 26th individually and is currently ranked 80th nationally by Golfweek. Joining Weathersby will be sophomores Mallory Batson and Erika Thornton along with juniors Gina Sharp and Suzanne Stanley.

"This event will be the only tournament of the year where we play 36 holes in one day and then play 18 holes the next day to conclude the event," MSU head coach Christi Sanders said. "We have a good mindset going into the tournament and know we will have to stay focused and positive throughtout the lengthy first day. Without ever seeing this golf course, we will have to do a good job of strategically mapping out the course in the practice round."

Mississippi State's women golfers will begin play at 8:30 a.m. on Monday for two consecutive rounds of action, while Tuesday's third and final round will also begin at 8:30 a.m. Both rounds will be in a shotgun format.

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