STARKVILLE - What's old is new again in Starkville.
STARKVILLE - When the season started, the Mississippi State softball team knew the importance of the middle two weeks of April. The Bulldogs have an eight-game stretch of games against teams in the Ratings Percentage Index Top 28, with seven of those being against the Top 13. With an RPI of 22, MSU is looking for a late push to secure a high seed in an NCAA regional with the outside hope of hosting a regional.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State pitcher Lucas Laster noticed a difference the moment he picked up the new flat-seam baseball.
STARKVILLE -- The margin of error is gone for the Mississippi State baseball team. After losing 14 of its last 22 games, MSU is on the outside looking in for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament after losing three of its first four Southeastern Conference series. It only gets tougher from here. Starting at 6:35 p.m. Friday, MSU (21-14, 5-7 SEC) will face No. 2 Texas A&M (31-2, 9-2) in Game 1 of a three-game series in College Station, Texas. The series will be the Bulldogs' first of three in the next four weekends against ranked teams. The Aggies are ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball and USA Today polls. They are No. 2 in the Baseball America rankings.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State softball coach Vann Stuedeman told her team to treat Wednesday night's midweek game against No. 1 LSU just like any other midweek game. Then she told her standout pitcher something different. The non-conference game between Southeastern Conference rivals was designed to enhance both teams' Ratings Percentage Indexes (RPI) and postseason hopes, but MSU got the most mileage out of the game thanks to a 9-4 upset before a standing-room only crowd at the MSU Softball Field.
STARKVILLE -- It's called the Ricketts Effect. When Samantha Ricketts was hired as an assistant coach and hitting instructor in the offseason, her task was to rejuvenate the Mississippi State softball team's offense. Ricketts was hired to produce performances like Wednesday night, when MSU had 11 hits and dominated two of the Southeastern Conference's best pitchers in a 9-4 victory against No. 1 LSU in a non-conference game before a capacity crowd of 902 at the MSU Softball Field.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Avery Johnson envisions leading the Alabama men's basketball deeper into the NCAA tournament than it has been and ambitiously chooses five-time national champion Duke as his model program. Johnson, who was introduced as the Crimson Tide's coach Wednesday, fully embraces the prospect of coaching at a school which boasts arguably college football's equivalent of Duke hoops. He met with football coach Nick Saban -- Alabama's version of Coach K -- for about 30 minutes before taking the podium.
STARKVILLE -- For the Mississippi State softball team, this is not your ordinary midweek game.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies are a perfect 10.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Mississippi State still couldn't break away from the midweek doldrums Tuesday night.
WEST POINT - Home is where the heart is.
STARKVILLE -- Aeris Williams found the hole, turned upfield, and saw two defenders in his way. Like he had done on numerous occasions, Williams didn't hesitate and crashed into the linebackers, driving them 6 yards past the point of contact and turning an innocent run into a 9-yard gain. To prove it wasn't an aberration, Williams got up and did it again.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- In front of a national television audience, the Mississippi State softball team used a 12-hit attack to beat Arkansas 16-4 in six innings Monday night at Bogle Park. The victory helped MSU (29-10, 8-7 Southeastern Conference) earn its first SEC series sweep and its second series win in the league. The win also helped MSU move over .500 in SEC play at the latest date in the season since it was 10-8 following a win against Auburn in Game 1 of a three-game series on April 13, 2002.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama hopes Avery Johnson's NBA pedigree will translate to success in the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournament. The Crimson Tide announced Monday night it had hired Johnson to fill its coaching vacancy. The terms of Johnson's contract won't be released until it's approved by the board of trustees' compensation committee.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama has offered its men's basketball job to former NBA player and head coach Avery Johnson, a person familiar with the negotiations said Sunday. The person said Johnson and Alabama are working on the details of a deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made about the coaching search.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Mackenzie Toler's single in the sixth inning scored Caroline Seitz with the go-ahead run Sunday to lift the Mississippi State softball team to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference game at Bogle Park. MSU (28-10, 7-7 SEC) earned its 14th come-from-behind win to take the series from Arkansas (14-23, 0-11). The teams will wrap up the series at 6 tonight (SEC Network).
OXFORD -- Former New Hope High School standout Will Golsan continued his hot hitting with a single and an RBI Sunday, but the Ole Miss baseball team lost to Tennessee 4-2 in the series finale at Swayze Field. Golsan and Sikes Orvis had RBIs, but the Rebels (16-16, 5-7 Southeastern Conference) had only four hits and couldn't secure their second SEC series victory of the season.
STARKVILLE - For every authoritative run by freshman Aeris Williams, there was a pinpoint pass from freshman quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.
STARKVILLE -- It took everything Lucas Laster had to hold things together. The effort had nothing to do with pitching. Laster, a senior left-hander, was asked by ESPNU for an interview following his complete-game, eight-hitter Thursday night in the Mississippi State baseball team's 13-2 victory against South Carolina at Dudy Noble Field.
STARKVILLE -- Having lost 12 of their last 18 games, members of Mississippi State's baseball team enter this weekend's Southeastern Conference series against South Carolina in need of a shakeup.
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