STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State’s softball team had an opportunity to answer with a good third inning after LSU put up a four-spot in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon. Mississippi State scored one run when Ali Bainbridge was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded and two outs, but ended up leaving three runners on base when Sammie Jo Bailey popped out to the catcher to end the inning. Mississippi State coach Jay Miller said it was tough to see his clean-up hitter fail to get the job done in that situation.
Renee Ladner hoped a loss to Auburn in the Southeastern Conference tournament earlier this month wasn’t the end to her team’s season. The University of Mississippi coach learned Monday that the Lady Rebels will play at least one more game. Trouble is, Ole Miss didn’t find out until Friday night who and where they were playing. Murray State defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 67-65 in a first-round game at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock, Ark. The victory means Murray State (23-8) will play at Ole Miss (17-14) at 4 p.m. today.
STARKVILLE –– The Mississippi State football team will begin to “Spread the Fun” next week when coach Dan Mullen opens spring football practice. After a week of spring break where some of his assistants were finishing moves to Starkville, Mullen said everyone will be ready to get down to business. Mullen, who was hired Dec. 11, 2008, after Sylvester Croom resigned Nov. 29, will try to start out with a clean slate with the players.
STARKVILLE — Armelie Lumanu trudged out of the team’s locker room following a loss to LSU in the Southeastern Conference tournament in North Little Rock, Ark. Lumanu’s body language was in stark contrast to the emotion and energy she exhibited in the second half. With less than eight minutes remaining, Lumanu stole the basketball near midcourt and was fouled seconds later.
April Sykes’ transformation into a Division I basketball player will continue Saturday in the NCAA tournament. Sykes and the No. 7 seed Rutgers Lady Scarlet Knights (19-12) will take on No. 10 seed Virginia Commonwealth (26-6) at approximately 1:30 p.m. at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J. It’s not surprising Rutgers, which went 9-7 in the Big East Conference, is in the NCAA tournament.
It’s Butch Thompson’s turn. The Mississippi State pitching coach was an observer Wednesday when Alabama-Birmingham coach Brian Shoop and volunteer coach Ron Polk returned to Dudy Noble Field. Shoop was an assistant coach at Mississippi State and Polk was MSU’s coach for 29 seasons. This weekend will be a homecoming for Thompson when MSU plays at Georgia.
Seth Wood didn’t want to make the wrong choice. As much as he was interested in accepting a scholarship to play soccer at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Ark., Wood realized the school really didn’t have a field of study that suited him. Wood didn’t eliminate Williams Baptist, but he decided to finish his high school soccer season and what other offers came his way. When Wood received a call from East Mississippi Community College men’s soccer coach Junior Noel, he had a feeling he had found his destination.
Ever since Dr. James Giesen saw the documentary “Game of Change” last year in Detroit, he knew he had to find a way to bring the film to Mississippi State. Giesen, an assistant professor of History, was interviewed to provide perspective for the film about the 1963 NCAA men’s basketball tournament game that pit Mississippi State against Loyola of Chicago in East Lansing, Mich., so he already knew how to contact the film’s director and producer, Jerald Harkness.
STARKVILLE — Dudy Noble Field, Mississippi State’s baseball surface, has had the reputation of being one of the nation’s best draining fields. But the system is showing its age.
STARKVILLE — It really didn’t surprise Mississippi State baseball coaches John Cohen and Butch Thompson to see Ryan Powers’ hot hitting against the Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday night. Thompson had already told Cohen how Powers was swinging the bat in pregame batting practice.
Mississippi State freshman point guard Dee Bost would take another 20-point win against his old prep school rival this afternoon. Bost was at Hargrave Military School when he played against Isaiah Thomas at South Kent School in Connecticut. Thomas is now a freshman point guard at the University of Washington, MSU’s opponent at 3:45 p.m. today (WCBI) in the first round of the NCAA tournament West Regional in Portland, Ore.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State men’s basketball lost good players last season when Jamont Gordon, Charles Rhodes, and Ben Hansbrough left the program. Rhodes graduated, Gordon skipped his senior season to test the NBA market, and Hansbrough transferred to Notre Dame. The Bulldogs knew they would have a new look this season, and not much was known about returning players Phil Turner, Kodi Augustus, and Ravern Johnson.
STARKVILLE — Tysheka Grimes doesn’t care which word you use. Energy, focus, and intensity are all the same to her, and as far as she is concerned, the No. 11 seed Mississippi State women’s basketball team will need a healthy dose of all three at 11 a.m. Saturday when it takes on No. 6 seed Texas in the West Regional at Columbus, Ohio. Mississippi State (22-9) started practice Tuesday for Texas (21-11) and its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2002-03.
There will be several connections at 6:30 tonight when the Mississippi State baseball team plays host to Alabama-Birmingham at Dudy-Noble Field. The most notable will be Ron Polk’s homecoming. Polk, who coached at Mississippi State for 29 seasons, will return to Dudy Noble Field as a UAB volunteer coach.
Going into the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships, Randall Flimmons had high expectations for himself. Flimmons accomplished his goal by winning the gold medal in the long jump at the championships Feb. 28 in Boston. Flimmons, a 2003 graduate of New Hope High School and a 2007 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, won the gold with a jump of 25 feet, 7 3/4 inches.
STARKVILLE — Jamie Pinkerton won 19 games (four in the Southeastern Conference) in 2005 in his first season as University of Arkansas softball coach. Whitney Cloer hit .145 as a freshman in 2006. In 2007, the Lady Razorbacks began construction on a multi-million, state-of-the-art softball stadium. Those stops along the way detail how Arkansas has gone from a perennial SEC cellar dweller to an NCAA tournament team.
For years, Jeff Smith worked for the parks and recreation department and helped children discover and realize opportunities in sports. Now a county supervisor, Smith hopes to do similar things, starting this weekend. Smith has helped organize the Mississippi Madness basketball tournament, a 16-team event for men and women 18 years and older, which will tip off a 6 p.m. Friday at West Lowndes Middle School.
The destination is ... The Mississippi State women’s basketball team hasn’t faced much drama the past five years in March, This year is different. The only drama the Lady Bulldogs will face tonight is discovering where they will play their first-round opponent in the NCAA tournament. The Lady Bulldogs will gather at 6 tonight at the Templeton Athletic Academic Center to watch the NCAA women’s basketball tournament selection show on ESPN. At 22-9, MSU has its most victories since the 2002-03 season, the last time it advanced to the NCAA tournament.
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