News from MSU Media Relations--March 8

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

Track & Field
ACKSONVILLE, Fla. - State's men's track and field team ended a successful season opening weekend at the North Florida Spring Break Open Saturday.

"We had a great meet," head coach Al Schmidt said. "This was a very good meet with great competition; it was a great season opener for us."

The Bulldogs ended the day with sophomore Matthew Cameron taking first-place in the 1500-meter run. Cameron ran a personal-best and NCAA regional qualifying 3 minutes 45.49 seconds in the event.

"Matthew Cameron qualifying well under the regional marks was a very big highlight today," associate head coach Steve Dudley said.

Sophomore Justin Christian took first-place in the 100-meter dash and second-place in the 200-meter dash. Christian ran a personal-best regionally qualifying 10.52 seconds in the 100- and 22.05 seconds in 200-meter dash.

"Justin, a redshirt freshman, getting his first victory in college track was a big highlight of today," Dudley said.

Also on the track, senior Delandus O'Neal ran 54.37 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles to finish in third-place, and the 4x400-meter relay team of Emanuel Mayers, John Bailey, O'Neal Wilder and Dwight Mullings ran 3:11.39 to win the event.

In the field events, freshman Josh Tucker cleared 6 feet 8.75 inches in the high jump to win third-place. Bulldog teammates, Allen Cassell, Kendrick Poullard and Darryl Brady were not far behind coming in fourth, sixth and seventh-place respectively.

"Josh jumped very well for us today," Schmidt said. "His third-place finish was a great way to open his collegiate career."

The Bulldogs will take a week off from competition and return to action March 21, at the Rhodes College Invitational in Memphis.


Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team (4-3) will look to rebound this Sunday in a "Battle of the Bulldogs" dual match against No. 4 Georgia (11-2) at 1 p.m. at State's A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre as part of the SEC's opening weekend of play.

MSU is fresh off a hard-fought Friday match that ended in a 5-2 setback to the visiting No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers. In that match, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-1 lead after claiming the doubles point for the fourth straight time and junior Chris Doerr winning at the No. 6 position, but the Vols responded winning the four remaining singles matches, two in three-set battles, to take the SEC opener.

"We are coming off a tough loss to a very competitive Tennessee team, but we saw a lot of good things from our guys," said head coach Per Nilsson. "We also saw a lot of things we need to improve on, but as long as we continue to work like we have been those things will improve and we will begin to win the key points in our matches which will help us get the wins we need to in conference play."

MSU is led by senior Ryan Farlow who is ranked 118th in the country. The Madison, Miss.-native has been able to rack up two wins over ranked opponents thus far this season. All five of MState's regulars in the singles lineup have a record of .500 or better, but it is Doerr who is the lone individual nursing a current win streak, after MSU's trio of rookies - Daniel Sanchez, Artem Ilyushin and Louis Cant - all had three-match win streaks broken on Friday by UT.

MSU has shown many positives in doubles play early on in 2009, led by the tandem of sophomore Antonio Lastre and Sanchez at the No. 2 slot. That duo remained undefeated in dual match play at 6-0 with a win Friday. At No. 3, Cant and Ilyushin are riding a four-match win streak into Sunday's match against Georgia. Playing No. 1 for the Bulldogs, Doerr and sophomore Tanner Stump are .500 on the season (3-3), recently dropping a tough decision to the ninth-ranked Vols' duo of John-Parker Smith and Davey Sandgren.

Georgia, which is the two-time defending national champion, is coming off a tough 4-3 road loss to No. 10 Ole Miss on Friday. The Bulldogs from Georgia are paced by a trio of ranked players in seventh-ranked junior Nate Schnugg, No. 60 junior Jamie Hunt and sophomore Javier Garrapiz, who stands at 84th nationally. UGA's lead doubles team of Hunt and Schnugg rates 12th in the country.

"We had a fantastic crowd Friday and they were very important to us in giving Tennessee a strong challenge," Nilsson said. "We need everyone to come back out and support us Sunday in this equally important match against the two-time defending NCAA champions."

MSU will look to break a three-match skid to UGA, with their last win coming in 2005, when the MSU won in Athens 4-3.

Admission is free to all home MSU tennis matches and live stats will be available at www.mstateathletics.com.


Softball
HONOLULU, Hawaii - Freshman Courtney Moore and junior Jessie Bailey each hit a two-run home run, and freshman Lindsey Dunlap threw six and one-thirds scoreless innings in relief as the No. 25 Mississippi State softball team knocked off Mount Saint Mary's 6-1 Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Moore' second home run of the season, a fourth-inning blast, put State ahead for good and capped a 2-for-3 afternoon for the El Sobrante, Calif., native. Bailey's home run in a three-run fifth was her third of the year, tying her with sophomore Ali Bainbridge for the team lead.

Less than 24 hours after tying the school's single-game doubles record with five against Hawaii, the Bulldogs added four more on Saturday to bring their weekend total to 16. Junior Chelsea Bramlett added one of the four doubles to extend her hit streak to 12 games. Bainbridge, freshman Ka'ili Smith and sophomore Courtney Nesbit also hit two-baggers for the Bulldogs (14-5).

After falling behind 1-0 in the first and failing to capitalize on a pair of scoring opportunities over the first three frames, the Bulldog bats finally came to life in the fourth. Nesbit sparked the inning with a one-out double to the gap in left-center, and Smith doubled over the head of the right fielder to bring her home with the tying run.

After Smith was thrown out trying to take third, Sammie Jo Bailey kept the inning alive with a hard ground ball that deflected off the Mountaineers' shortstop, and Moore put the Bulldogs on top for good as she took a pitch deep over the wall in center field.

The three-runs would prove to be all Dunlap would need as the Hueytown, Ala., native, in relief of starter Kelsey Nurnberg, held the Mountaineers (1-8) to six hits and matched a career high with nine strikeouts to move to 6-3 on the year. Dunlap worked out of a trio of bases-loaded jams in the game as the Mountaineers stranded 13 runners on base.

"It took us a little while to get on track," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "We wanted to jump on them from the start, but we let them hang around. Lindsey did a nice job of coming in and shutting them down after she struggled last night. We finally got the bats going and got some big hits from Courtney Moore and Jessie Bailey that put the game away. Hopefully we can keep it going tomorrow and finish the weekend on a strong note."

The Bulldogs gave the rookie hurler some extra cushion with a trio of runs in the fifth that pushed the lead to its final 6-1 margin. Bramlett reached on a one-out double to right-center and scored on a Bainbridge two-bagger over the head of the Mount Saint Mary's left fielder. Bailey capped the frame with her third home run of the season, a two-run shot over the wall in left.

Amanda Burk paced The Mount with a 3-for-4 afternoon. Her RBI double in the first put Mount Saint Mary's on top 1-0.

Mountaineer starter Amanda Hanson suffered the loss to fall to 0-3 on the year. Hanson gave up the six runs on eight hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout in five innings.

State closes out the weekend and its pre-Southeastern Conference slate on Sunday, taking on Radford in a game set for a 3 p.m. CST first pitch at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.


Men's Golf
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.. - The Mississippi State men's golf squad fired a 292 in the second round of the Seminole Intercollegiate Saturday and stand in sixth place heading into Sunday's final round. The Bulldogs hold a 584 team score through the first two rounds of the tournament held at the Golden Eagle Country Club in Tallahasse, Fla.

Carlos Sainz, Jr. leads MSU after two rounds with a second-round 73. The senior is in a tie for 10th with a 144. Senior Noah Goldman is in a tie for 15th with a 146 while senior Brian Mason is tied for 20th after a round of 73 Saturday.

Josh Bevell also fired a 73 Saturday to conclude the first two rounds with a 150. Senior Matt Fast is in 46th with a 153 entering Sunday's final round.

The Bulldogs as a team shot an 8-over-par on the front nine. However, on the back nine the team made up for it by shooting an impressive 4-under-par.

"We could have shot a lot worse than we did but our guys finished very strong today," said Head Coach Clay Homan. "We've got some catching up to do but I'm proud of the way the team fought back. They didn't drop any shots coming down the stretch."

Ole Miss shot a 282 in the second round and holds a one shot lead over Virginia and a six shot lead over SEC-foe Vanderbilt. Joe David of Ole Miss, Ryan Haselden of Vanderbilt and Conrad von Borsig of Virginia all lead the individual field at 5-under-par.

Sunday's final round will begin at 11 a.m. CT on holes #1 and #10. Following Sunday's action, State will take two weeks off before heading to Mobile, Ala., for the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate.


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