News from MSU Media Relations--April 3

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

Women's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's women's tennis team (9-5, 0-5 SEC) continues its tough stretch through the Southeastern Conference season, hitting the road to take on two top-20 opponents this weekend.

The Lady Bulldogs face off with 19th-ranked Vanderbilt (7-5, 3-2 SEC) in Nashville, Tenn., at 2:30 p.m. CT Friday, before traveling to Lexington, Ky., to take on the 20th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (11-5, 2-4 SEC) on Sunday. Match time for that affair is slated for 11 a.m. CT.

MSU comes into the weekend after suffering two 6-1 setbacks to two formidable opponents in South Carolina and Florida.

During those matches, State managed to pick up two wins at the no. 6 position. Senior Daniela Juskova dominated Ashley Miller of South Carolina in a 7-5, 6-2 triumph last Friday. Meanwhile, junior Valeriya Makarycheva ousted Brooke Allen of Florida 6-1, 6-2 in Sunday's match.

The State doubles duo of Radka Ferancova and Juskova continues to impress in the SEC season. The pair from MSU has picked up two victories in State's five SEC matches. Ferancova and Juskova defeated Brooke Allen and Barbera Pinterova 8-5 in their last outing.

Vanderbilt comes into Friday's contest with MSU having suffered a 5-2 setback to Auburn last Sunday, while Kentucky comes in after taking a 4-3 triumph over Alabama in their last outing.

Mississippi State will conclude its 2009 home schedule next Friday, April 10 and Sunday, April 12 when it plays host to Arkansas and LSU. State's Friday affair with Arkansas is slated for an 11 a.m. CT start, while the match with LSU is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT start Sunday.

Women's Golf
OXFORD, Ms. - Mississippi State's women's golf team will complete regular-season play close to home this weekend by participating in the Rebel Intercollegiate. Hosted just 90 miles away at the Country Club of Oxford, the tournament will be hosted by the Ole Miss Lady Rebels and will feature 14 teams from across the nation.

Sophomores Mallory Batson and Erika Thornton will continue their streak of having seen competition in every tournament of their collegiate careers while junior Gina Sharp also will see her eighth tournament of the season. Joining the trio will be junior Leigh Phillips and freshman Perry Katherine Furr.

"The Lady Rebel Intercollegiate is a new event this year and we are excited to be playing so close to home," MSU coach Christi Sanders said. "We hope that fans will travel this short trip to come support us and watch us play this weekend. The venue has changed to the Country Club of Oxford."

Mississippi State's Lady Golfers will begin play at 7:45 a.m. CT on Friday and Saturday, while the final round will be in a shotgun format beginning at 8 a.m. CT Sunday.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team is asking for fans to "Crowd the Courts" this weekend as the Bulldogs host two Southeastern Conference matches this weekend to conclude a three-match homestand by the Bulldogs. First, MSU will serve up on Friday, April 3, at 2 p.m. CT against No. 53 Vanderbilt and then conclude the weekend with a Sunday, April 5, match against 13th-ranked Kentucky at 1 p.m. CT.

"We are really looking for some fan support this weekend, because there are two very good teams coming in and two wins would be very important for us at this point in the season," said Mississippi State head coach Per Nilsson. "We have a lot of guys that have played good this year. We just need to try and get us all playing good on the same day."

Mississippi State (5-10, 1-5 SEC) will look to break a current six-match losing streak this weekend against the two visiting SEC foes. Vanderbilt (4-11, 0-6) will look to snap a 10-match losing streak and pick up their first conference win of the season. Kentucky (13-5, 3-3) strolls in following a split weekend on the road, winning 4-3 at Auburn, but dropping a 4-3 decision to Alabama.

MState is 15-2 at home all-time against the Commodores and has won two of the last three matches between the two schools. State is 11-4 versus UK at home and has taken two of the previous three matches from the Wildcats as well. State dropped tight 4-3 decisions to both teams on the road last season.

For the first time this season, the Bulldogs boast two nationally-ranked players, led by senior Ryan Farlow who has jumped up 20 spots to 88th nationally, fresh off of a straight-set upset of South Carolina's 50th-ranked Diego Cubas this past Friday. Joining Farlow in the rankings at No. 89 is freshman Bulldogs Artem Ilyushin who upset the 14th-ranked player in the country on Sunday, Alex Lacroix of Florida. With the win, Ilyushin picked up his first conference victory and is now a winner of three of his last four matches.

Vanderbilt is led by their doubles team of Adam Baker and Alex Zotov, who stand at 46th in the country. Charlie Jones leads Vandy in victories with 16, including three in conference action, while Zotov is a close second with 15 wins this season, but is an impressive 5-1 in SEC matches.

Kentucky boasts the fifth-ranked player in the country in senior Bruno Agostinelli. Agostinelli also teams up with Brad Cox in doubles to form the country's 19th-ranked tandem.

Admission is free to all Mississippi State home tennis matches and live stats will be available at

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State hits the midway point of its 2009 baseball season this weekend when the Diamond Dogs (15-13, 3-6 SEC) play host to SEC Western Division rival Auburn (18-9, 4-5 SEC) in a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field.

Friday's series-opener is set for 6:30 p.m., with State junior lefty Tyler Whitney (2-2, 3.91) set to open on the mound opposite AU's sophomore southpaw Grant Dayton (2-3, 3.18). The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m. and concludes Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. contest.

The Bulldogs, whose 13-2 home records stands as one of the best in the SEC this year, have played their last four and eight of their last nine games away from Dudy Noble Field. State dropped a 7-1 Wednesday night decision at UL-Monroe as th4 Warhawks broke up a 1-1 pitcher's duel with a six-run burst in the seventh. MSU sophomore lefty Forrest Moore recorded a career-best and staff season-high 11 strikeouts and yielded a run on two hits before departing the game after the sixth inning. The Bulldogs got a two-hit plate performance by senior outfielder Grant Hogue and scored their lone run on a solo home run by junior DH Ryan Duffy.

Hogue registered his 17th stolen base in as many attempts and stands eighth among MSU's career leaders in stolen bases.

The Tigers, coached by first-year Auburn head coach John Pawlowski, had their lone midweek game, a Tuesday night matchup with South Alabama, rained out in Mobile, Ala. Despite being out-hit 49-24, Auburn took two of three games from visiting Vanderbilt to nail down its second league series of the year. The Tigers powered by an SEC-leading 58 home runs, 11 each by Joseph Sanders and outfielder third baseman Trent Mummey.

The weekend series matches the top two most-plunked teams in the SEC. State leads the league with 45 HBPs while Auburn is second with 39.

The MSU-Auburn series marks the fourth straight for Bulldog pitching coach Butch Thompson but just his first with the Bulldogs. Thompson served as pitching coach for the Tigers the past three seasons prior to joining John Cohen's Mississippi State staff last summer.

Dudy Noble Field gates and ticket offices open two hours prior to each game this weekend.

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