News from MSU Media Relations--March 19

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Jessie Bailey's lead-off home run in the seventh cut Arkansas' lead to a single run, but the Bulldogs were unable to complete the rally as Arkansas held on for a 3-2 win Tuesday afternoon at the MSU Softball Field.

Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, Bailey led off with her team-leading fourth home run of the year, a solo shot over the wall in left. Representing the tying run, pinch-hitter Laurie Siebert stepped up with her first hit of the season, a ground ball that deflected off the glove of Razorback third baseman Amie Hubbard.

Three batters later, Chelsea Bramlett, who paced the six-hit MState attack with a 2-for-3 effort, drew a two-out walk that put the tying run at second base. The Bulldogs (14-12, 0-6 SEC) were unable to get the tying run across, however, as UA starting pitcher Miranda Dixon sealed the win with a strikeout.

"We're just struggling offensively right now," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "The players are pressing a little, and when that happens, breaks don't go your way. We had some opportunities late, but we didn't give ourselves any chances early. When things are going bad, the little things don't go your way. I was proud of the way we kept fighting, however. We could have given up but didn't, and that is something we can take into the series with LSU."

Dixon improved to 9-2 as she surrendered the two runs, one earned, on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk in the complete-game effort. MState freshman Lindsey Dunlap also went the distance, surrendering three runs, two earned, on nine hits with five strikeouts and three walks in falling to 6-7 on the campaign.

The Razorbacks (16-9, 5-0 SEC) jumped out to the early 1-0 lead as Kayla Johnson led off the second inning with her second home run of the year. Johnson paced UA on the day as she went 4-for-4 and scored twice.

State answered back with two outs in the home half of the third to tie the game at a run apiece. Brittany Gates dropped a bunt back to Dixon, but an errant throw to first allowed Gates to advance to second. Bramlett scored Gates with the tying run as she delivered an RBI single up the middle.

Arkansas regained the lead in the fourth as Hubbard led off with a single and scored three batters later on a Brittany Griffiths pop-fly to shallow center that was dropped by Jessie Bailey. Hubbard, who went 2-for-2 in the game, drove in the winning run in the fifth as her two-out base hit up the middle scored Johnson from second after she reached on a single.

The Bulldogs continue their six-game home stand this weekend, hosting SEC West foe LSU in a three-game set Saturday and Sunday on the MState campus. First pitch for both days is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Men's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State-Washington men's basketball first round game of the NCAA Tournament will air as the primary game on 15 regional affiliates. Areas near both Starkville and Seattle will see the game in its entirety. The CBS broadcast will also be available across the nation on CBS College Sports Network.

CBS College Sports Network is available on DirecTV (Channel 613) and on various cable outlets. Fans outside of the 15 primary markets are encouraged to contact their cable operator for details about CBS College Sports Network availability.

Tipoff at the Rose Garden is set for 3:45 p.m. CT, and MSU-UW will be opposite the bracket of Purdue and Northern Iowa, who open the day's events at 1:20 p.m.

A complete affiliate listing follows.

KTVA - Anchorage, Ak.
WIAT - Birmingham, Ala.
WKRG - Mobile, Ala.
KLEW - Lewiston, Idaho
WCBI - Columbus, Miss.
WXVT - Greenville, Miss.
WHLT - Hattiesburg, Miss.
WJTV - Jackson, Miss.
WMDN - Meridian, Miss.
KOIN - Portland, Ore.
WREG - Memphis
KEPR - Pasco, Wash.
KIRO - Seattle
KREM - Spokane
KIMA - Yakima, Wash.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, MISS. - Mississippi State junior guard Alexis Rack was honored by the Associated Press Wednesday as she was tabbed to the All-SEC second team.

The All-SEC honor is the second this season for the Franklin, La., native as she was named to the Coaches All-SEC First Team prior to the SEC Tournament. This season, Rack has led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring and ranks fifth in the SEC, averaging 14.6 points a game. She also leads the team and ranks fifth in the league in assists, dishing out 4.3 a game. Rack led the SEC during the regular season in three-point field goals made a game with 2.6 and ranks second in free-throw percentage, shooting 82.5 percent from the charity stripe.

Earlier this season, Rack became State's 15th member of the 1,000 point club, became Mississippi State's all time leader in three-point field goals made and currently stands 12th on MSU's list of top scorers with 1,140 career points.

Rack and the rest of the Lady Bulldogs will depart Thursday in preparation of their first-round game of the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. State, the 11 seed in the Berkeley Regional, will take on sixth-seeded Texas in the opening game in Columbus which is set to tip at 11 a.m. CT and will be shown by ESPN2.

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - In a break from Southeastern Conference action, Mississippi State's women's tennis team (8-3) plays host to Louisiana-Lafayette (5-7) Thursday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Match time between the 52nd-ranked Lady Bulldogs and the Ragin' Cajuns is slated for 11 a.m. CT.

MSU comes into Thursday's contest with an 8-0 record against non-conference foes this season. State's 8-0 mark to begin the 2009 campaign set a school-record for consecutive wins to start a season.

Coming off a tough stretch in the Southeastern Conference, Mississippi State is looking to break a three-match losing streak. The Lady Bulldogs started league play with losses to 12th-ranked Tennessee, second-ranked Georgia and 16th-ranked Alabama.

Junior Radka Ferancova continues to lead the team in singles victories with a 9-2 mark. The junior is 8-0 against teams outside of the SEC. Seniors Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers come into the contest with ULL looking to get back on track after they had their team-best, seven-match win streak in doubles snapped against Alabama last weekend.

Louisiana-Lafayette comes into the affair with MSU on a four-match win streak. The Ragin' Cajuns ousted Northwestern State 6-1 Sunday in their last affair.

Following the contest with ULL, Mississippi State will step back into the SEC, playing host to South Carolina Friday, March 27, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Start time is slated for 2 p.m. CT.

Live stats for all Mississippi State matches are available at

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team (5-5, 1-3), who are currently ranked the highest they have been this season at 48th, will compete in the Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery, Ala., this Thursday and Friday, with their first opponent hailing from South Bend, Ind., meeting the 26th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-7).

"The Blue Gray is going to be a great challenge for us," said Mississippi State head coach Per Nilsson. "We are going to find out a lot about our team this weekend and we need the guys to step up their game."

MSU is coming off a weekend in which the Bulldogs split Southeastern Conference matches, winning 4-3 at No. 20 Auburn on Friday, then followed by dropping a 6-1 decision at No. 23 Alabama. MSU is led by 108th ranked senior Ryan Farlow, who is coming off a split weekend, but was able to conjure up a come-from-behind upset over 69th ranked Alexey Tsyrenov of Auburn. Sophomore Antonio Lastre boasts the most wins for the Maroon & White, with a 6-3 record, while rookie Louis Cant is fresh off his win at the No. 4 position on Sunday at Alabama, and is 5-5 in dual match action.

Notre Dame will be playing their first match in over two weeks, when they defeated Michigan on March 4 at home, 5-2. The Irish have also faced another SEC foe this season, when they dropped a 5-2 match to the Kentucky Wildcats on Feb. 23.

Notre Dame is paced by senior Brett Helgeson who stands at 22nd nationally, and is 7-6 at the No. 1 position. Casey Watt leads the Irish in wins during dual match play with 11, primarily playing at the No. 4 position. The Irish boast the 25th-ranked doubles team in Helgeson and Tyler Davis, who have a .500 record of 7-7 at the No. 1 position. The duo of Watt and Steven Havens have put up nine wins for Notre Dame at the No. 2 slot.

Based on the outcome of the match, the Bulldogs will either face No. 41 Oklahoma Sooners or the 22nd ranked Boise State Broncos.

This marks the 10th time State has competed in the Blue Gray Classic and the first time since 2006.

Live stats will be available at

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