News from MSU Media Relations--February 14th

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

Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's golf team opens the 2009 spring season Saturday, Feb. 14, in Gainesville, Fla., at the SunTrust Gator Invitational, hosted by the University of Florida.

The three-round invitational will be formatted with two rounds played on Saturday and the final round played on Sunday. The 54-hole event will be played at the par-70, Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida.

"We have a great opportunity with an all senior lineup to move up in the rankings," said MSU Head Coach Clay Homan. "There is a very strong field here this year and we are looking forward to see how we match up against them."

After a fall season that included two top five finishes, Homan leads the Bulldogs into the spring season ranked 65th in Golf Stat and 67th in Golfweek.

Making the trip for the Bulldogs will be a veteran group of all seniors including Carlos Sainz, Jr., Noah Goldman, Matt Fast and Josh Bevell, and Brian Mason. Sainz and Goldman competed in all five tournaments for MState this past fall that included three top 10 performances by Sainz. Bevell and Fast competed in four of the Bulldogs' five fall tournaments, Fast posting the second-best scoring average on the team at 73.73. Mason competed in three of the five MSU fall tournaments.

Joining Mississippi State in the two-day tournament will be reigning SunTrust Gator Invitational champion Florida, and fellow SEC members LSU and Ole Miss.

Also competing will be Chattanooga, Coastal Carolina, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, North Florida, UAB, UCF and Wake Forest.

Live stats will be available on

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Chelsea Bramlett drove in the tying run with a triple and scored the walk-off run Friday afternoon as the Mississippi State softball team rallied to down No. 23 Purdue 4-3 at the Florida State-hosted Sunshine Classic in Tallahassee. The victory was head coach Jay Miller's 221st with the Bulldogs, making him the winningest coach in school history.

After a Molly Garst two-run double with two outs put Purdue (3-1) up 3-2 in the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs (4-2) kicked off their final at-bat with a walk to freshman Ka'ili Smith. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from fellow rookie Brittany Gates, Bramlett, the ESPN Preseason All-American, lined a triple to the wall in right-center that scored Smith with the tying run.

Sophomore Allie Heon followed with a ground ball to short. Bramlett, one of four Bulldogs with a hit each in the game, raced home and managed to score the winning run as she slid past the tag of catcher Jenna Alexander.

"I thought we didn't have some good at-bats tonight. Ali (Bainbridge) hit a big home run to put us up, but we couldn't put them away with the bases loaded the next inning," Miller said.

"Kelsey and Lindsey pitched well except for a couple of pitches that got away and made us have to scramble from behind. We showed a lot of heart coming back because we could have packed it in after they scored those two runs in the top of the seventh. Ka'ili, Brittany, Chelsea and Allie all came up big for us in the seventh. It was a great win over a very good team, and I am proud of the way we fought out there."

The victory improved State's seventh-year head coach to 221-166 in Starkville, moving him past former Bulldog head coach Kathy Arendsen (1997-2002) for sole possession of the record. In his 27th season as a collegiate head coach, Miller now stands at 930-581 overall.

Freshman Lindsey Dunlap picked up the win in relief to move to 2-0 on the year. The Hueytown, Ala., native allowed the two seventh-inning runs on two hits over 2 1/3 innings. State starter Kelsey Nurnberg turned in a stellar effort in the circle, giving up an unearned run on three hits with a pair of strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

State staked the senior from Ankeny, Iowa, to an early 2-0 lead as sophomore Ali Bainbridge hit her first home run of the season, a one-out, two-run blast over the wall in left that scored Heon after she drew a walk.

State had another opportunity in the second, but the Alcocer and the Boilermakers managed to thwart the opportunity. Brittany Bell and Jessie Bailey were both hit by a pitch. Smith loaded the bases as she dropped a ball in front of the plate and reached when no Boilermaker covered first. Purdue, however, got a line-out double play and a ground-out to end the threat.

Alcocer fell to 1-1 on the year as she allowed the four runs on four this with five strikeouts in the complete-game effort.

Purdue got on the scoreboard in the fifth, cutting State's lead to a run as Horiuchi doubled, took third on a Bulldog fielding error and scored on Ashley Barr's two-out single that went just past the out-stretched glove of first baseman Sammie Jo Bailey.

The Bulldogs return to action at the Sunshine Classic with a pair of games on Saturday. State opens the day against Miami of Ohio at 11:15 a.m. CST before challenging Appalachian State at 3:45 p.m. CST at JoAnne Graf Field.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State travels to Auburn at 4 p.m. on Saturday for a key SEC matchup that will be televised by Fox Sports South.

The Bulldogs (16-8, 6-3) enter the contest having won 13 of the last 15 meetings against the Tigers (15-9, 4-5), including the last four. Mississippi State has also won three of its four SEC road affairs this season and is looking to become the second league foe to win four, joining LSU. Last Wednesday, the Fighting Tigers collected their fourth road win with a double-overtime 97-94 victory at Humphrey Coliseum.

In that game, junior forward Jarvis Varnado scored a career-high 31 points before fouling out in the first overtime period. In addition, point guard Dee Bost scored 20 points to become the first freshman since Rickey Brown in 1977 to score 20-plus points in back-to-back games. Bost poured in 25 against Arkansas on Feb. 7 en route to being name the SEC freshman of the week for the second time this season.

Saturday could potentially be a big day for junior guard Barry Stewart. The Shelbyville, Tenn., native needs just one point to become the 30th player in MSU history to score 1,000 for a career.

After Saturday, the Bulldogs return to Humphrey Coliseum on Wednesday to face South Carolina. MSU is currently 3-0 against teams from the Eastern Division, with wins against Vanderbilt, Georgia and Kentucky.

Men's Tennis
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Mississippi State women's tennis team leads Tulane 3-0 in a match that was suspended due to rain midway through play Friday on the road. The teams will complete the match Saturday morning at 10 a.m. CT.

State gained the opening point of the day, notching victories at the No. 2 and 3 doubles positions. MSU then grabbed a 3-0 lead with straight-set singles wins at the No. 2 and 6 positions before rains halted play for the day.

Needing only one more point to clinch the victory, MSU (4-0) is currently holding one-set leads in two of the remaining four singles matches while Tulane is up a set in the other two contests.

Following the completion of the Tulane affair, the Lady Bulldogs will next square off with 56th-ranked South Alabama Sunday at 11 a.m. CT in Mobile, Ala.

Women's Track and Field
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs indoor track and field team completed the first day of competition at the Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center and were paced by Wendy Copeland and Priscilla Gaines in the long jump.

In the Championship category, Copeland jumped 19 feet, 8 and 1/4 inches to place eighth. Gaines competed in the Women's College Long Jump, where she jumped a season-best 19-2 ¾ to earn a fourth-place finish.

"Wendy jumped six meters in the Long Jump and Priscilla had her best jump of the year," MSU coach Al Schmidt said. "That was the highlight of the day. Marrissa (Harris) made it to the 60-meter hurdles finals. Overall, it was a pretty good day. We had success in the events we competed in today. Hopefully, the momentum will carry over."

Harris ran 8.49 seconds in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries and qualified for Friday's finals, scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

The Lady Bulldogs conclude competition at the Tyson Invitational Saturday.

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