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Wake-up call - Easter Sunday - Bringing you early morning MSU news



Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Happy Easter to all the loyal Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers 




Without further ado:  




Item No. 1 - Mississippi State baseball news -  




Extra-inning baseball games continue to not be a good thing for Mississippi State. 


MSU suffered its fourth extra-inning defeat this season Saturday afternoon, falling to Vanderbilt 4-3 in a 12-inning Southeastern Conference affair Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field. 


The Bulldogs scored the game-tying run in the home half of the ninth inning.However, much like the 8-5, 11-inning defeat to Arkansas two weekends ago, the Bulldogs could not hold in extra frames, as the visiting Commodores plated the game-winner in the 12th inning. 


Vanderbilt improved to 13-18 overall and 4-7 in league play, while MSU fell to 19-12 and 4-7 after the longest game ever played between the conference rivals. 


"Offensively we were not good and that is my responsibility," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "By my count, we swung through five 3-1 pitches and did not make contact on 3-1 fastballs. We are trying to put pressure on our opponent. If it is a ball, you need to take it. If it is a strike, you have to find a way to put i tin play." 


A quartet of Vanderbilt pitches held MSU to five total hits. The Bulldogs did not score until plating two runs in the seventh inning. That frame started with three straight walks from Commodore pitching. 


Back-to-back groundouts by Brent Brownlee and Hunter Renfroe brought the runs home. Renfroealso had the game-tying double with two outs in the ninth inning. A two-out hit batsman opened the door for the Bulldogs in that frame. 


However,the Bulldogs would strand two base runners in the ninth inning and three more in the 10th inning. A nifty double play ball by VU halted the 11thinning threat. The Bulldogs went down in order in their final at-bat. 


"We did everything right except at the plate," Cohen said. "We didn't bear down and do the things that you need to do to win a game in the Southeastern Conference." 


Vanderbilt broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the sixth inning. A dropped fly ball in the outfield opened the door. The ball was dropped and also erred in the field as well. Mike Yastrzemski followed with an RBI-single. After a strikeout and hit batsman, Vince Conde followed with a two-run double. 


"It is easy to point fingers," Cohen said. "You can look at the fly ball that C.T.(Bradford) dropped, but he also made a couple of great plays. There is diving catch and a throw back to first base where you double a runner off. 


"Adam(Frazier) made some great plays. Defensively, we did some things very well. We certainly pitched it well enough to win." 


Starting pitcher Kendall Graveman worked 5.2 innings, allowing four hits and three runs(all unearned), with seven strikeouts and one walk. Jonathan Holder, Luis Pollorena and Taylor Stark combined to shut the Commodores out until the 12thinning. 


Jacob Lindgren (1-1) took the loss in 2.1 innings of relief. Will Cox was touched forthe game-winning single by Anthony Gomez. 


Gomez,Yastrzemski and Conrad Gregor had multiple hits for VU. Will Clinard (3-1)pitched the final 3.1 innings, to pick up the win. 


Now thoughts turn to Sunday where MSU will try to take a series from VU for the first time since 2005. 


"We haven't won a series in a while so we have to win," Renfroe said. "We have to come out with fire and execute. We really need to a win series and that will give us a big lift going into next week." 


The series concludes with a 1:30 p.m. Easter Sunday rubber game at Dudy Noble Field 




Item No. 2 - Mississippi State track and field news - 




BATON ROUGE, La. - Another meet has come and gone for Mississippi State, and with the end of the Battle on the Bayou the Maroon and White found themselves as leaders on the national collegiate level. 


Meet host LSU picked up the women's overall team victory with a total of 174.50 points, while the combination of victories and Top 10 finishes gave the Lady Bulldogs a total of 85 points to place them fourth on the day. LSU also claimed the overall men's title with 157.50 points to finish just ahead of MSU, who by meet's end had collected 115 points to place them second. 


"The competition was strong in Louisiana," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "When you compete against that level, it pushes you to compete harder. That is certainly what happened today and as a result we are leaving town with some of the best times in the nation." 


Jody-Ann Muir entered Saturday ranked 24th in the nation, but after running a personal best 52.47 Muir had climbed her way to become the nation's new leader in the 400-meter dash.  


Joining Muir on the winner's podium was Favian Cowards, who threw a personal best 199-07 to break into the nation's hammer throw Top 15; as well as Katie Huston (4:33.71) who crossed the line first in the 1500-meter run to finish just ahead of teammate Dominique Lockhart (4:38.50) who was fourth. 


To accompany the victories, the Lady Bulldogs also picked up a host of Top 10 finishes; beginning with Keisha Wallace (13.20) and Racquel Farquharson (13.63) who finished second and eighth respectively in the 100-meter hurdles. Fellow hurdler Ocian Archer (1:02.11) then picked up a ninth place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Next up was Alyssa Hall who was fourth in the high jump with her height of 5-07.25; then came a quartet of long jumpers as Erica Bougard (19-06.25), Rochelle Farquharson (18-10.50), Wallace (18-07.75) and Ebony Brinker (18-06.00) finished third, seventh, eighth and tenth respectively. 


Brinker (39-03.25) and Ro. Farquharson (38-03.25) then picked up their second Top 10 finishes as they finished sixth and seventh in the triple jump, followed by Jodie McGuff whose time of 10:25.81 placed her second in the 3000-meter run. Rounding out the Top 10 finishes was the 4x400-meter squad of Muir, Bougard, Kanishia Carey and Archer who ran 3:38.57 to finish sixth. 


Tavaris Tate and James Harris were the big finishers on the day, as the pair picked up first and second place in the 400-meter dash. Tate who ran 45.45 to claim the victory, also moved into the No. 1 spot on the national collegiate list, while Harris's personal best time of 45.58 placed him second on the day and No.2 in the nation. Finishing right behind Tate and Harris, was Daundre Barnaby who finished fifth with a time of 46.08. 


John Valentine picked up the next win for the Bulldogs as he ran 9:08.86 in the 3000-meter steeplechase, to finish just ahead of teammate Bobby McIllece who was fourth with a time of 9:34.46. 


Following Valentine came a number of Top 10 finishes, starting with the 4x100-meter quartet of Justin Christian, Jarrett Samuels, Tate and Harris who ran 39.75 to finish second. Next up was the distance contingency, as Juan Sanchez (3:51.24) took eighth in the 1500-meter run; while Cameron Vernier (8:29.48), Philip Johnson (8:39.47), Michael Clark (9:02.89) and Julian Duarte (9:09.90) were second, fifth, ninth and 10th respectively in the 3000-meter run. 


Continuing the Top 10 trend were the hurdlers as Nathan Arnett (14.13) was fifth in the 110-meter hurdles, while Emanuel Mayers (50.32) was second in the 400-meter hurdles finishing just ahead of Arnett (51.26) who was third. 


Then came the field events were Ed Wesela was 10th in the shot put with his throw of 54-06.50, followed by a trio of jumpers as Jarrett Samuels (24-09.25) was third in the long jump, Marcus Jackson (7-00.50), James Harris (6-11.50) and Josh Tucker (6-08) were second, fifth and 10th in the high jump and Jason Harper jumped 49-01.75 to finish fourth in the triple jump. 


The Bulldogs then closed out the day with the 4x400-meter relay, as Harris, Mayers, Barnaby and Tate ran the nation's second fastest time of 3:03.12 to claim victory. 


Upon return from Baton Rouge, MSU will prepare to host their second meet as the Jace Lacoste Invitational starts on Friday, April 13. 




Item No. 3 - Mississippi State softball news -  




FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - After sweeping Arkansas in a doubleheader on Friday, the Mississippi State softball team (21-19, 5-14 SEC) suffered a 13-2 setback in five innings to the Razorbacks (21-19, 3-14 SEC) Saturday afternoon at Bogle Park. The defeat snapped MSU's five-game winning streak against its SEC West counterpart, its longest since winning five in a row from 2005-06. 


"Arkansas brought it today," MSU softball coach Vann Stuedeman said. "We left five on base in the first two innings and they scored five runs during that stretch. That was the difference." 


Bulldog left fielder Jessica Cooley had a monstrous day at the dish, going 2-for-2 with two solo home runs. The junior now has 11 on the year, placing fifth in school history for a single season.  


After the Bulldogs stranded two runners on with no outs in the top of the first, Arkansas repeated its Friday game two performance with two runs on two hits in its first three at-bats. Following the two-run home run by the Razorbacks' Amanda Geile, Cooley cut the deficit in half in the top of the second by depositing a 3-2 pitch over the wall in straightaway center for a solo round tripper. 


Succeeding Cooley's home run, MSU loaded the bases but failed to tie the game at two. The home team made State pay, connecting on four-consecutive two-out singles in the bottom of the second to extend the lead to 5-1 in favor of the Razorbacks.  


Just as she did in the second, Cooley responded to the multiple Razorback runs by crushing a full-count pitch deep over the left-field wall in the third. With the solo homer, Cooley became the ninth player in school history to hit two dingers in a single game. 


The Razorbacks, replicating the second inning, answered Cooley's solo production with numerous runs in the bottom of the third frame. Junior lefty Kylie Vry replaced MSU starter Stephanie Becker to start the inning, and after giving up a single by Geile, yielded a two-run jack to cleanup hitter Andrea Sullivan. After a scoreless fourth for both teams, the Razorbacks scored six more off Vry in the bottom of the fifth to win the game via the run rule. 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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