News from MSU Media Relations--January 9

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Softball, Baseball and Men's Basketball.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State softball's fall signing class has received some national recognition, being mentioned the up-and-coming program by ESPN Rise.

ESPN Rise developed the ranking through consultation with club coaches, college coaches and ESPN affiliates.

Head coach Jay Miller's Bulldogs inked left-handed pitchers Stephanie Becker of Aurora, Ill., and Kylie Vry of Des Moines, Iowa, for the 2010 season, along with Jessica Cooley (Birmingham, Ala.), Shelby Fisher (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Erin Nesbit (Acworth, Ga.).

"This recognition is a tribute to the hard work that (associate head coach) Annie Smith has put into recruiting over the past few years," Bulldog head coach Jay Miller said. "This is an outstanding class with two top pitchers and some outstanding defensive players who are also big hitters. It's nice to see Mississippi State get this national recognition again. Our goal is to compete at the top level nationally and advance to the Women's College World Series, so it's nice to see us making strides in that direction."

State was one of four SEC schools mentioned on the list. Florida and Tennessee rated fourth and fifth, respectively, while LSU was named honorable mention. Oklahoma topped the ranking, with Arizona, California, Texas, Arizona State, Michigan, UCLA and Northwestern also earning places in the top 10.

The Mississippi State softball team opens the 2009 season Feb. 6-8 at the MSU Softball Field against Louisiana-Monroe, Iona and Kennesaw State in the Bulldog Round-Robin. Admission to all MState home softball games is free.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - More than 200 high school baseball athletes from throughout the region are expected to converge on the MSU campus this weekend for the high school sessions of the 2009 Mississippi State University Winter Baseball Camps.

The day-long High School Pitcher/Catcher Camp session is set for Saturday (January 10) while the High School Hitting Camp will be conducted Sunday (January 11). The camps, conducted at Dudy Noble Field, the home of the Baseball Bulldogs, the spacious climate-controlled Palmeiro Center and the Shira Complex, feature instruction by new head coach John Cohen, the Bulldog coaching staff and members of the 2009 Mississippi State baseball team.

Registration and camp check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Palmeiro Center both days with each session closing at 4 p.m.

Advance registration remains open for the third and final weekend of MSU's winter baseball camp offerings for 2009, the Youth All-Skills (January 17) and Youth Hitting (January 18) sessions. The youth camps are designed for pre-high school age baseball players.

MSU's winter camps opened last weekend with the third annual Father-Son camp sessions, which drew capacity enrollment to the Palmeiro Center.

For additional camp information, contact the MSU Baseball Office (662-325-3597) or visit the camp department link online at

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After closing out non-conference action with two dominating performances against Western Kentucky and Houston, Mississippi State now focuses its attention toward SEC play, which begins on Saturday at Arkansas.

Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., and the contest will be televised by Fox Sports South. Dave Neal will handle play-by-play duties, while Barry Booker will serve as the analyst.

MSU, 10-5, faces an Arkansas team that's 12-1 following its impressive 67-61 victory against No. 7 Texas on Tuesday.

Last year, the two SEC rivals split their series, with the home squad prevailing.

With Rick Stansbury at the helm, MSU is 8-2 in league openers, including last year's 61-39 win at LSU. All-time, the Razorbacks are 12-6 in SEC lid-lifters. Arkansas holds a 26-19 series advantage, but the Bulldogs have won seven out of the last 11.

After Saturday, Mississippi State returns home on Wednesday, Jan. 14 to face Alabama at 7 p.m.

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