News from MSU Media Relations--March 16

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. - Mississippi State's women's golf team finished play today at the LSU Golf Classic in 18th place as sophomore Erika Thornton and junior Gina Sharp paced the Lady Bulldogs with a three-round total of 228 and both tied for 66th place individually.

Junior Leigh Phillips finished third on the team at 15-over-par and tied for 79th, sophomore Mallory Batson finished with a 232 to place fourth on the squad and junior Suzanne Stanley rounded out State golfers with a 253.

Two Southeastern Conference teams made the tournament's top five spots, as LSU fired a 867 to place third and Arkansas finished five-over-par to wrap up fourth place. Winning the tournament's title was Virginia, who held onto a big lead from the second round to finish 8-under-par. Tulane jumped from fourth into the second spot after recording a three-round total of 861, while Wake Forest, North Carolina and Louisville all tied for fifth spot with a 870.

MSU continues spring action Friday, March 27 at the UGA Golf Course as they participate in the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mississippi State's Lindsey Dunlap made a 2-1 lead hold up until the sixth inning when Amanda Locke's two-run double rallied No. 2 Alabama to a 3-2 win and a sweep of the three-game series at the UA Softball Complex in Tuscaloosa.

The Bulldogs drop to 14-9 and 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play, while UA improves to 23-2 and 3-0 in the conference.

Dunlap, the freshman from Hueytown, Ala., fell to 6-5 in the complete-game effort as she surrendered three runs on six hits with four strikeouts.

"Lindsey did a great job on the mound for us and gave us a chance to win," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "We did a nice job of getting some runs early, but we couldn't build on the lead. We had a great opportunity late in the game, but we just didn't get it done. We're still looking for someone to step up in those situations."

After struggling to scratch across runs in Saturday's opening two games of the series, the MState offense staked Dunlap to a 2-0 first-inning advantage.

Chelsea Bramlett sparked the inning as she reached on an infield single to first base. Bramlett paced State with a 2-for-4 afternoon that extended her hit streak to a career-best 16 games.

Bramlett stole second and then took third on an Ali Bainbridge sacrifice bunt. Brittany Bell drew a one-out walk and stole second on a Ka'ili Smith strikeout. With two outs, Jessie Bailey hit a hard ground ball that deflected off the glove of UA starter Kelsi Dunne. A low throw by Dunne to first allowed Bramlett and Bell to score and give MSU a 2-0 advantage.

Dunne picked up her second win of the weekend to move to 10-0 overall. She allowed the two unearned runs on four hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts while going the distance.

Alabama cut the lead to one in the home half of the first. Jennifer Fenton reached on a one-out bunt single to Dunlap. After a Kelley Montalvo fly-out, Fenton stole second and scored as Charlotte Morgan delivered one of her two hits in the game, an RBI single up the middle.

Both teams had opportunities over the next four innings, but neither squad could capitalize until UA struck the deciding blow in the sixth.

Bama had the chance to tie in the second as Lauren Parker led off with a double to right field and took third on a Ashley Holcombe ground-out with one away. Dunlap, however, got Kellie Eubanks to strikeout to end the inning.

She thwarted another UA tying opportunity in the fourth. After Morgan walked to open the frame, Whitney Larsen advanced pinch-runner Lisa Elizondo to second with a sacrifice bunt. Locke looked to have plated the tying run with a ground ball through the left side, but Bulldog shortstop Allie Heon made a diving stop to keep Elizondo at third. Dunlap struck out Holcombe to work out of the jam.

MState had a chance to expand the lead in the fifth as Brittany Gates was hit by a pitch and Bramlett beat-out a bunt to Dunne. Bainbridge moved the runners to third and second, respectively, but they were left stranded as Dunne struck out Brittany Bell and Smith.

The Crimson Tide clinched the victory in the sixth as Morgan singled to left. Two batters later, Parker was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with one out. Locke, who went 2-for-3 in the game, scored both as she lined a 2-2 pitch to the wall in left-center.

Miller's Bulldogs return home for the first time since Feb. 22, hosting SEC West foe Arkansas in a three-game set Tuesday and Wednesday at the MSU Softball Field. The Bulldogs and Razorbacks open the set with a doubleheader at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Wednesday's series finale is scheduled for a 4 p.m. first pitch. Admission to all MState home games is free.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Looking for their first conference win of the season, Mississippi State's women's tennis team (8-3, 0-3 SEC) dropped a 7-0 decision to 16th-ranked Alabama (12-1, 3-1) Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

Alabama took the doubles point from State, after the Crimson Tide picked up consecutive wins at courts No. 1 and 2. MSU took a victory at the No. 3 position though, as the tandem of Radka Ferancova and Daniela Juskova ousted the UA pair of Meritt Emery and Shelley Godwin 9-7.

Down 1-0, State looked to singles where they would have to win four of the six courts to take the match. It was a rough start to for the Lady Bulldogs as they fell behind in the first set on four courts. At positions three and six, MSU picked up early leads on their respective courts. Junior Ferancova picked up State's first set win of the day 6-2 at court No. 3. Junior Valeriya Makarycheva won her first set 6-4.

State failed to pick up a singles victory; however, as Alabama took an impressive 7-0 win over the Lady Bulldogs. The match-clincher for the Crimson Tide came on court No. 5 where State's Natalia Mayuk fell to UA's Shelley Godwin 6-2, 2-6,6-2.

Next up for Mississippi State, the Lady Bulldogs step out of conference to take on Louisiana-Lafayette this Thursday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Start time for that match is slated for 11 a.m. CT.

Men's Tennis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team (5-5, 1-3 SEC) fell short Sunday against 23rd-ranked Alabama (12-2, 3-1 SEC) in its attempt for their second consecutive road upset. After beating 20th-ranked Auburn on Friday, State fell behind early against the Tide and never recovered.

Alabama grabbed the opening doubles point, winning on all three courts. In the first completed match, UA's 27th-ranked tandem of Saketh Myneni and Billy Mertz topped State's pair of Artem Ilyushin and Louis Cant 8-4. The Tide would then clinch the point as Mathieu Thibaudeau and Dan Buikema outlasted MSU's Tanner Stump and Chris Doerr 8-6 on court #1. On court #3, Bulldogs Ryan Farlow and Antonio Lastre fell against UA's Ricky Doverspike and Andrew Felsenthal 8-4.

Alabama would quickly expand its lead at the beginning of singles play. UA expanded its lead to 2-0 as 66th-ranked Myneni defeated State's 118th-ranked Farlow 6-2, 6-2. On court #3, UA moved to a 3-0 lead as Michael Thompson topped MSU's Lastre 6-3, 6-1. Lastre was playing at the #3 position in the place of injured freshman Daniel Sanchez.

Despite falling behind, State would battle close in the final four matches on court. Battling down to the wire on court #5, Chris Doerr fell just short, 7-6, 7-6 as UA's Buikema won the clinching point for the Tide. After winning the first set 7-5 on court #6, MSU's Stump would be overcome 6-0, 6-4 in the final two sets by Michael Jung. Alabama would win another nail-biting match on court #2 as UA's 114th-ranked Thibaudeau rallied past Illyushin 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 to give Alabama a 6-0 lead. In the final match on, State's Cant won in a close three-set match 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 to give State the final point of the match.

The Bulldogs will continue play this Thursday, March 19 as they travel to Montgomery, Ala., to compete in the Blue/Gray Classic.

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