As a sophomore on the East Mississippi Community College golf team, Hal Larkin is making the most of a second chance. Larkin has the second lowest average on EMCC’s team after being academically ineligible to play as a freshman. Larkin, a 2007 graduate of Caledonia High School, has made the most of his last chance to play at EMCC by earning second-team all-state honors. He earned the honor based on being 10th in the state with a 76.7 stroke average.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State football team’s offense wasn’t spreading around much fun Saturday in its scrimmage. It is a sign the unit still has a long way to learn the new system of coach Dan Mullen. The offense had moments during a two-hour practice at the MSU practice fields, but the defense made the biggest statement.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State made sure it wasn’t going to lose a late-inning lead on Saturday afternoon. After blowing a 6-3 advantage in a 9-8 loss to Auburn on Friday night, the Bulldogs knew they had to handle a similar situation different in the second game of the series. MSU scored two insurance runs in the eighth inning and left-handed starting pitcher Nick Routt handled the rest as the Bulldogs beat Auburn 8-3 at Dudy Noble Field.
Ashley Jones had no idea she was going to win the state of Florida’s most prestigious basketball award. Five months ago, she didn’t even know if she would play basketball her senior season at Winter Park Lake Howell High School. But the Mississippi State women’s basketball signee recovered from a liver infection to become the school’s all-time leading scorer and to lead Winter Park (29-2) to the Class 5A state title, its first in school history. Jones’ performance this season helped her earn another honor. On Wednesday, Jones was chosen the Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Basketball winner. The award is voted on by state high school coaches and state sportswriters.
John Cohen and John Pawlowski are in new situations as head baseball coaches in the Southeastern Conference this season. Cohen already was an SEC coach at Kentucky, but he left and returned to his alma mater, Mississippi State, replacing Ron Polk, while Pawlowski took over for Tom Slater at Auburn. The Bulldogs and Tigers meet this weekend at Dudy Noble Field, and both programs are still trying to win on a consistent basis in the conference. The series takes place at 6:30 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
STARKVILLE — Leon Berry experienced success as a wide receiver at East Mississippi Community College by reaching the second round of the junior college playoffs last season. He hopes that success rubs off on Mississippi State. “We’re going to try and turn this program around,” Berry said. Berry, one of the Bulldogs’ mid-term signees, is adjusting slowly to Division I-A football after being an All-American in junior college.
Get the popcorn ready. Mississippi State’s Student Association and the school’s athletic department are planning a movie night April 16 on the new video board at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field.
STARKVILLE — One of the rewards for offensive line coach John Hevesy when he joined Dan Mullen’s football staff at Mississippi State was getting a chance to work with Derek Sherrod. While at Florida three years ago, Hevesy recruited the former Caledonia High School player for the Gators.
STARKVILLE –– Tuesday’s spring football practice at Mississippi State ended differently than the previous one. After the offense scored a touchdown to end a scrimmage Saturday, the defense made a statement Tuesday at the end of a three-hour practice. Linebacker Jamie Jones intercepted a pass from quarterback Chris Relf that caused the defense to celebrate much like the offense did Saturday.
When Ben Fleming signed a scholarship to play baseball at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., he believed it was an opportunity to play for a championship. Fleming, a junior outfielder from Columbus, is halfway through his first season at Southern Polytechnic, and he still believes the team has a chance to win a title. Southern Polytechnic (29-4), of the Southern States Athletic Conference, is off to its best start in school history and is ranked No. 3 in the NAIA Coaches Top 25 poll.
STARKVILLE — Football has always been in Jody Wright’s blood. From winning three state championships in his playing days at Pickens Academy to playing at Jacksonville State University in Alabama to coaching at Jacksonville and Mississippi State, Wright has always found a way to keep the game a part of his life.
STARKVILLE –– Saturday was like Christmas morning for Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen. By the end of a two-and-a-half hour spring workout, it began to feel a little that way with a cool front blowing through. Mullen was anxious to watch the film of what the Bulldogs had just done on the practice field so he could find out which players were ready to contribute.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State junior second baseman Jet Butler said one thing has given the Bulldogs problems on the road. “We haven’t been able to execute our game plans, but we’ll get better,” Butler said. “We’ll keep scratching and clawing.” MSU faces another road challenge this weekend when it travels to Arkansas for a series of games at 6:30 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday. The Bulldogs (14-10, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) haven’t had the kind of start they wanted in coach John Cohen’s first year, mainly due to a 1-8 record in road and neutral-site games.
STARKVILLE — Jarvis Varnado still hasn’t decided if he will return for his senior season with the Mississippi State men’s basketball team. Varnado will explore the possibility of leaving Mississippi State and turning professional. Varnado and MSU coach Rick Stansbury met Thursday, but no decision was made. Stansbury said there is no rush because the deadline for early-entry candidates to apply for the NBA Draft is April 26.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State punter Baker Swedenburg probably doesn’t mind a three-hour practice one bit. The work gives the former Heritage Academy player more time to prove himself on the field. After signing with the Mississippi State football team in 2008, Swedenburg, of Columbus, sat out a grayshirt year that enabled him to enroll as a part-time student and to keep his four years of eligibility. Swedenburg finally made it to the practice field Tuesday when the Bulldogs kicked off spring practice. He was back on the field Thursday for the second workout.
STARKVILLE â€” March Madness ended early for the Mississippi State basketball teams. But Jerald Harkness was in Starkville on Tuesday to celebrate the spirit and the history of the MSU menâ€™s basketball program and the NCAA tournament.
Among the 75 or so spectators at Mississippi Stateâ€™s first day of spring football practice on Tuesday were coach Dan Mullenâ€™s wife, Megan, and his 1-month-old son, Canon. Canon was born Feb. 13 and the smile canâ€™t be wiped from coach Mullenâ€™s face whenever he talks about his son.
Itâ€™s time to move on. As much as University of Mississippi football coach Houston Nutt would love to enjoy the fruits of a 9-4 season that ended with a six-game winning streak and a victory against Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, heâ€™s ready for another ride.
STARKVILLE â€” Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen is looking for players who will give a consistent effort every time they step on the field. If Cohen can get that effort from a freshman, he will go that route. On Wednesday night against the University of Memphis, two MSU freshmen showed they could be a key to the programâ€™s future.
Sharon Fanning already is thinking about the 2009-10 season. One of the first jobs Fanning took to prepare for next season was to watch Mississippi State’s 64-58 loss to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday again. The veteran MSU coach knew the outcome wasn’t going to change. She also knew her confidence in her players wasn’t going to diminish one bit.
1. Epiphany helps Holman return to New Hope HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Lady Trojans fall a little short HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Ray looks to newcomers to improve depth COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Thomas' development gives MSU positive for future COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Defense does job for South Jones HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS