News from MSU Media Relations--April 17

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

Men's Golf
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State men's golf team will tee off this Friday in the SEC Tournament at the par-72 Frederica Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. The Bulldogs will play three days of 18 holes per day starting on Friday.

MSU enters the tournament ranked tenth in the SEC, averaging 73.65 strokes per 18 holes with a team average of 294.58 after ten regular season tournaments, which included six top-ten finishes and two tournament titles (Troy Invitational & Mobile Bay Intercollegiate).

"We can only control what we do," said Coach Clay Homan. "The good thing about golf is that there is no defense, so we can only worry about ourselves. I am confident if that's what we do, we will find success this weekend."

The Bulldogs rank four golfers in the top 55 of the SEC in stroke average, Josh Bevell, Noah Goldman, Matt Fast and Carlos Sainz, Jr., with Sainz standing among the top-25 with an average of 73.38 strokes per round in 29 rounds of play. All four will make the trip to St. Simons Island, Ga., along with senior Brian Mason.

"We're playing much better of late," said Homan. "I feel like we have a lot of guy's confidence back, so hopefully we can start getting some low scores like we are capable of."

All 12 SEC schools will compete in the tournament, six of which are ranked in the top 25 (Golfstat.com Poll) and nine ranked inside the top 50.

"There is tons of talent in this league," said Homan. "Honestly, there are no bad teams so that makes things challenging."

Tee time is expected at 7 a.m. CST with live stats available through www.MStateathletics.com.


Baseball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State opens the second half of its 30-game Southeastern Conference baseball schedule on the home field this weekend, playing host to SEC Eastern division foe Kentucky in a three-game Super Bulldog Weekend series at Dudy Noble Field.

The Bulldogs (19-18, 5-10 SEC) and the Wildcats (19-16, 4-11 SEC) meet for the 83rd time in Friday's 6:30 p.m. series-opener. State has built up a 52-30 all-time lead in a series that got its start in Starkville in 1925. The home team has claimed wins in the last four series, including a 2-1 UK edge (5-6, 13-4, 9-8) in last year's series contested in Lexington, Ky.

Junior lefty Tyler Whitney (2-3, 4.25) will draw his seventh start of the year for State while the Wildcats will counter with junior lefty James Paxton (4-2, 6.07).

Bulldog skipper John Cohen, who served as Kentucky's head baseball coach the past five seasons before returning to his alma mater last June, guided UK to an 8-7 mark against State and a pair of series wins over the Diamond Dogs from 2004 to 2008. MSU's first base coach, Nick Mingione, also has Kentucky connections, having served for two seasons on Cohen's staff in Lexington. UK is coached by Gary Henderson, a member of Cohen's UK staff in 2008.

Both teams enter the series in search of win No. 20, their second league series win of the year and in a battle for a top eight league finish. State begins the weekend two games out of sixth place in the SEC's overall standings and a game ahead of Kentucky.

A pair of Bulldogs are riding career-best hitting streaks. Sophomore shortstop Ryan Powers (.306) has hit safely in 14 games, the longest hitting streak of the year by a Bulldog and the second-longest active hitting streak in the Southeastern Conference. Junior first baseman Connor Powers (.308), who has homered in six of his last nine games and hit safely in those nine contests. He leads the team with 11 roundtrippers and 40 RBI. Junior third baseman Russ Sneed (.361) and senior catcher Scott DeLoach (.350) pace State at the plate.

Mississippi State currently sits atop the SEC in three varied statistical categories. MSU batters have been struck by pitches a league-high 52 times. The Bulldog defense has turned an SEC-leading 39 double plays while State also leads the conference with 34 sacrifice hits. Bulldog senior outfielder Grant Hogue has been struck by a league-high 13 pitches and ranks third in the SEC with 21 stolen bases.

The series continues Saturday at 1 p.m. and concludes with a 1:30 p.m. contest Sunday.


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