News from MSU Media Relations--March 15

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

Women's Golf
BATON ROUGE, La. - Junior Leigh Phillips fired a team-low 73 in the second round to lead Mississippi State's Lady Bulldogs at the LSU Golf Classic Saturday.

Phillips currently stands third on the team and tied for 72nd overall with a two-round total of 154. Leading the team is junior Gina Sharp, who recorded a 75 for the second consecutive day to stand tied for 47th overall and six-over-par. Sophomore Erika Thornton also fired a 75 and stands tied for 66th while sophomore Mallory Batson owns a two-round total of 156 and junior Suzanne Stanley rounds out MSU golfers with a 169.

Four Southeastern Conference teams currently hold positions inside the tournament's top ten, including Arkansas' two-round total of 582 for six-over-par and third place after holding 14th place a day ago. Virginia fired a 287 in the second round and jumped Wake Forest for first spot as the Deamon Deacons now stand eight strokes behind the lead with a 580 and four-over-par. Tied for fourth and rounding out the top five after day two are Tulane and North Carolina, both with team totals of 583. Virginia's Calle Nielson extended her lead in the individual standings from round one to two strokes at 138 and six-under-par.

MSU will begin the final round of the LSU Golf Classic at 8:30 a.m. CT Sunday.

USCALOOSA, Ala. - Junior Chelsea Bramlett matched her career high 15-game hit streak Saturday as the Mississippi State softball team opened the 2009 Southeastern Conference portion of its schedule with 4-0 and 7-1 setbacks to No. 2 Alabama at the Alabama Softball Complex in Tuscaloosa.

The Bulldogs fall to 14-8, 0-2 in league play, while the Crimson Tide improve to 22-2, 2-0 in the league.

Lindsey Dunlap suffered the loss in both games, falling to 6-4 on the year. The Hueytown, Ala., native surrendered a run on one hit through four innings in the opener before being struck for five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings of the nightcap.

Bramlett went 2-for-6 on the day to push her hit streak to 15 games, matching her career high set in 2008.

Kelsi Dunne picked up the win for the Crimson Tide in the opener, moving to 9-0 overall as she scattered the three hits and struck out eight in the complete-game effort.

The Bulldogs had an opportunity to take a first-inning lead as Bramlett walked and Brittany Bell dropped a single into left field. Dunne got a pop-out, strikeout and fly-out to end the threat.

"We gave ourselves some opportunities in the first game, and I thought we competed very well," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "We battled hard at the plate in the first game, and I thought Lindsey pitched really well for us today. Alabama is No. 2 in the nation for a reason, and you can't let them off the hook when you have the opportunities."

After Dunlap retired the first two hitters in the home half of the frame, Montalvo took a 3-1 offering and hit a towering shot that sailed over the foul pole in left field.

State had another chance in the second as SEC Freshman of the Week Ka'ili Smith drew a lead-off walk. She moved to second on a Sammie Jo Bailey sacrifice and took third on Courtney Nesbit's base hit to center. MState was unable to capitalize, however, as a strikeout and fly-out ended the inning.

The Bulldogs put the tying run at third again in the fifth as Bramlett led off with a single to center, took second on a sacrifice bunt and went to third on an Ali Bainbridge ground-out to second. A strikeout, however, kept the tying run 60 feet from home.

The Tide broke the game open in the sixth. Brittany Rogers walked and stole second. Jennifer Fenton moved her to third as she beat out a sacrifice bunt attempt. Montalvo, who went 2-for-4 in the two games and drove in three runs while scoring four times, drove in her second run of the day with a base hit through the left side that scored Rogers. Charlotte Morgan capped the scoring as she lined a double off the wall in left-center to bring home Fenton and Montalvo.

In the second game, Morgan held the Bulldogs hitless until the fifth when Smith grounded a single off the third baseman Montalvo's glove.

"I was disappointed with our approach at the plate in the second game," Miller said. "We looked like a totally different team at the plate in the second game. We didn't make adjustments with the bats."

State broke through with a run in the sixth as Brittany Gates reached on a fielder's choice following a Bailey single. Bramlett reached on a base hit, and a throwing error by UA first baseman Cassandra Reilly-Boccia moved Gates to third. She scored as Bramlett successfully stole second.

Morgan, who also collected two hits and drove in three runs in the outing, surrendered the sixth-inning run on four hits and struck out a career-high 12 in running her record to 7-2.

The Crimson Tide took the early 1-0 lead as Whitney Larsen hit her sixth home run of the season, a solo blast over the wall in left-center in the second.

UA added two more runs in the fourth as Morgan helped her own cause with a two-run shot. UA capped its scoring with four more runs in the fifth on a Montalvo RBI triple, a Morgan run-scoring base hit and a Larsen two-RBI double.

The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide close out the three-game set on Sunday in a game set for a 1:30 p.m. first pitch.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis match against Auburn today has been cancelled due to rain.

The Lady Bulldogs and Tigers were slated to play around 1:30 p.m. CT today, but rains continued to mist the courts, making it unplayable.

MSU will play host to Alabama tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team (5-4, 1-2 Southeastern Conference), ranked 75th nationally, will look to complete a weekend sweep on Sunday when it travels to No. 23 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-2, 2-1), after the Bulldogs upset No. 20 Auburn in an exciting 4-3 win Friday afternoon. Match time is set for 1 p.m. CT at UA's Varsity Courts.

"Alabama is certainly a quality opponent, but is a team we feel we can match up well against if we stay focused mentally," said MState head coach Per Nilsson. "We are coming off a very emotional win, but we do not need to be satisfied and must remain determined."

State's 4-3 upset Friday at No. 20 Auburn concluded in dramatic fashion when 118th-ranked Bulldog senior Ryan Farlow overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third set, claiming the final five games of the match to clinch the match and the win for the Maroon and White.

'Bama will be looking to avoid two losses for the weekend after being defeated by third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels at home on Friday, also by a close 4-3 score.

MSU, who has won the doubles point in two of their three Southeastern Conference matches this season, will face a Crimson Tide squad that boasts three doubles teams ranked nationally with the doubles team of Saketh Myneni and Billy Mertz at No. 27, the Crimson Tide tandem of Ricky Doverspike and Mathieu Thibaudeau ranked 29th and Michael Jung and Trey Walston standing 73rd nationally.

UA also sports two players ranked nationally in singles play with Myneni standing at No. 66 and Thibaudeau ranked 114th in the country.

The Bulldogs hold a 25-22 advantage all-time against the Crimson Tide, but have lost their previous two matches to Alabama, and have not won in Tuscaloosa since 2005.

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