STARKVILLE — Getting Renardo Sidney on the basketball court at Mississippi State might be more difficult than the Bulldogs anticipated. MSU will use sports attorney Mike Glazier to evaluate Sidney’s amateur status.
The University of Alabama baseball team’s offense is intimidating when you look at the numbers. Alabama leads the Southeastern Conference in batting average (.338), hits (550), slugging percentage (.592), on-base percentage (.423), runs scored (423), RBIs (394), doubles (116), and total bases (963). When Mississippi State plays host to Alabama in a three-game SEC series at 6:30 p.m. today, 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the Bulldogs primary task will be to try to hold down that offense.
Mississippi State’s basketball program might not have a “Varnado” next season, but it will have a “Renardo.” Renardo Sidney, a McDonald’s All-American from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles and the nation’s No. 7 prospect in the country according to ESPN’s Scout’s Inc., signed Thursday afternoon with Mississippi State. MSU spokesman Gregg Ellis confirmed the signing, which ended a week of speculation about Sidney’s destination.
The Road Dawgs Tour is getting closer to Columbus. Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen and other members of the athletic department are making plans to make their Lowndes County appearance at the Plymouth Bluff Center on Monday. It’s one of the stops Mullen is making among 16 cities across the Southeast. Anyone wanting to attend must purchase their $15 tickets by today at Coldwell Banker West Realty or BankFirst in Columbus.
It was tempting for Mississippi State track jumper Priscilla Gaines to participate Saturday at the Mississippi Open in Oxford. After reaching a season-high and regional qualifying long jump of 19 feet, 8 inches at the Mississippi Invitational on April 11, the chance for more success there was inviting. But Gaines has something more important to do Saturday.
A fast start Monday on day one of the 2009 NJCAA Region 23 Golf Championship proved to be elusive for Hal Larkin. Birdies on three of the first five holes gave the former Caledonia High School golf standout reason to believe he could secure a trip to the NJCAA National Championship. But Larkin’s early momentum evaporated.
Nashedra Barry likes to stay busy. In addition to the time she spends with the Columbus High School girls basketball and slow- and fast-pitch softball teams, the senior standout is involved in a host of clubs and other extra-curricular activities.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State baseball and softball teams have something in common at the top of its batting orders. Although both teams are struggling in the Southeastern Conference, baseball’s Grant Hogue and softball’s Chelsea Bramlett have enjoyed personal success stealing bases. Hogue leads the SEC with 28 stolen bases and is tied with Dave Klipstein for second most steals in a season in Mississippi State history. He is fifth in school history with 53 career stolen bases. As far as Bramlett, she has already set the Mississippi State single-season record for stolen bases with 49 and her 141 career thefts are tied her for the most all-time with Iyhia McMichael.
As a redshirt freshman on the Delta State baseball team, Brent Hallmark hasn’t had many opportunities to pitch. But Hallmark has made the most of the opportunities when he has gotten to take the mound. Hallmark, a 2007 graduate of New Hope High School, has appeared in four games for the Statesmen this season and he hasn’t allowed an earned run.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State’s football coaches believed the team progressed in all phases of the game during spring practice, but the common opinion throughout the program is that there is much improvement yet to be made. The Bulldogs spent 15 NCAA mandated practices in the spring, mainly trying to install the spread offense. On the defensive side, coordinator Carl Torbush liked going against the spread in practice and said his unit benefited from having many things thrown at it.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State center Jarvis Varnado is keeping everyone in suspense about his basketball future. If Varnado has decided to leave Mississippi State for the National Basketball Association, he hasn't made his intentions public. Today is the deadline for college underclassmen to declare their eligibility for the NBA draft, but there hasn't been a peep from Varnado about his plans. The only decision Varnado seems to have made is not to talk.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State baseball team is in danger of missing the postseason for the second year in a row. After making the NCAA College World Series in 2007, Mississippi State didn’t reach the Southeastern Conference or NCAA tournaments last year. Mississippi State (21-21, 6-12) will travel to Nashville, Tenn., for its next three-game SEC series against Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. today, 1 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Even though he was not in town to see it, Mississippi State Athletic Director Greg Byrne could not have been more proud of the turnout for Super Bulldog Weekend.
STARKVILLE –– The Mississippi State athletic department has acknowledged its football program violated an NCAA bylaw April 10 when former coach Jackie Sherrill visited a spring football practice session. The school has self-reported the secondary violation of NCAA bylaw 184.108.40.206.1.4 regarding the use of outside consultants when Sherrill was seen working with Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and the kickers to the Southeastern Conference. A letter was sent Tuesday by MSU Associate Athletic Director of Compliance Bracky Brett to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.
Dan Mullen, Lane Kiffin, and Gene Chizik all have been assigned the same task. The men are in charge of returning three Southeastern Conference football teams to winning ways. Mississippi State, Auburn, and Tennessee all participated in and won bowl games in 2007, but failed in its quests to record winning seasons in 2008.
In her first season at Birmingham-Southern College, Tori Harris helped the softball program reach new heights. Birmingham-Southern ended its season Sunday with the best record in school history. Birmingham-Southern, ranked No. 17 nationally, swept a doubleheader from Hendrix College to finish the season 32-5 for an .865 winning percentage. Harris, a 2006 graduate of New Hope High School, contributed to that success as a junior pitcher and third baseman.
Clark Richey won’t realize his goal until June. But he will take another step toward it tonight when the Cotton States Baseball League unveils its four-team North Division at 4:45 p.m. today at the Magnolia Civic Center in New Albany.
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State Bulldogs got a taste of what coach Dan Mullen’s spread offense could be on the football field on Saturday night. In a full game scrimmage, the Maroon team came from behind to defeat the White 24-21 in the Maroon-White Game at Davis Wade Stadium. The announced crowd of 31,606 was the largest ever to watch a spring game at MSU. Although the Bulldogs did not show fans an all-out offensive explosion, it was enough to satisfy Mullen.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State senior first baseman Connor Powers took out his frustration on one pitch Saturday afternoon. Powers hit a walkoff solo home run in the 10th inning to help the Mississippi State Bulldogs beat the Kentucky Wildcats 4-3 at Dudy Noble Field. A season-high crowd of 10,210, the 22nd largest in MSU history and third largest in the Southeastern Conference this year, looked on during Super Bulldog Weekend. After losing 5-4 in 11 innings on Friday, MSU (20-19, 6-11 Southeastern Conference) was able to even its series with Kentucky at 1-1.
STARKVILLE — John Cohen has had what he calls “weird” experiences in coaching. The first came when he was an assistant at Florida under Pat McMahon and coached against former Mississippi State coach Ron Polk, who he played for from 1988-90.
2. Mixed reaction to decision to move MHSAA football title games HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Heritage Academy softball will try to take next step HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS