Looking to continue its school-record winning streak away from home, the Mississippi State softball team (20-6, 1-2 SEC) travels to Kentucky (20-8, 2-4 SEC) for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. ET. First pitch for both Saturday and Sunday is at 1 p.m. ET. Live audio streaming of MSU's SEC road-opening series will be available online to HailStateTV subscribers (www.HailState.com/hstvlive) free of charge.
Sunday's game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports South, with Dave Baker calling the action and Cheri Kempf serving as the color analyst. For those outside the SEC footprint, the game can be viewed at ESPN3.com. The Bulldogs are 3-1 in televised games under Stuedeman since her arrival last season, including a thrilling 2-1 series-clinching walk-off victory against Kentucky at home on April 21, 2012.
The series between the Bulldogs and Wildcats has been a streaky one the last decade. From April 7, 2002-April 3, 2008, MSU won 16 of the 17 games between the two schools, before UK reeled off eight wins in nine tries against the Maroon and White in a three-year span from 2009-2011. The last time the two squads met, Stuedeman's team swept Kentucky during Super Bulldog Weekend in an exhilarating series that saw Starkville's Team record two walk-off victories and clinch a berth in the 2012 SEC Tournament. State is 27-16 all-time against Kentucky, including a narrow 11-10 lead in Lexington.
Mississippi State has won 14 of its last 16 games and is off to its third-best start in school history. Only the 2008 squad (22-4) and the 2006 team (21-5) had better starts through its first 26 games. The road has been kind to the Maroon and White, who have been triumphant in a school-record 12-straight games away from the MSU Softball Stadium. Thanks to their recent success, the Bulldogs received 15 votes in this week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll, the most votes since earning 36 on Feb. 24, 2009 in the 2009 Week Three Poll.
A big reason for this year's success is Stuedeman's pitching staff, which ranks 22nd nationally in ERA (1.70) and is on pace to shatter the school records for strikeouts (on pace for 537), opponent batting average (.156) and strikeouts per seven innings (10.0). After pitching five shutouts in 57 games total in 2012, the MSU pitchers have already shut out seven opponents through 26 games this season.
Junior right-handed pitcher Alison Owen leads the nation in fewest walks allowed per game (0.22), strikeout-to-walk ratio (124-to-4) and ranks second in fewest hits allowed per game (1.9). Owen is also 10th in the country in ERA (1.01), while teammate Stephanie Becker is eighth in the NCAA and leads the SEC in strikeouts per seven innings (10.6). Owen and Becker are part of a staff which has held opponents to a .093 average (18-for-194) with two outs, while the team is out-scoring opponents in two-out RBIs by a 45-5 margin.
Of those 45 two-out RBIs, 14 have been driven in by junior Sam Lenahan. The right-handed slugger currently ranks 15th in the NCAA in walks per game (0.92), 17th in on-base percentage (0.56) and 29th in slugging percentage (0.851) and doubles per game (0.38).
On top of State's clutch hitting, speed has been the name of the game for the Dawgs. Through just 26 games in 2013, the Bulldogs have stolen 65 bases, 17 more than the team swiped in 56 games total the year before Stuedeman arrived in 2011. State is sixth in the country in stolen bases per game (2.5) and is on pace to shatter last year's total of 92 base swipes.
For live in-game updates of MSU's first SEC road trip to the Bluegrass State, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateSB. For pictures, like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateSB and visit the team's Instagram account at MStateSB. For pregame and postgame video, check out MSU's official YouTube channel at YouTube.com/HailState.
Following a five-match road swing, Mississippi State Women's Tennis will return to its home courts at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre to face No. 51 Arkansas on Friday at 3 p.m. and No. 54 LSU on Sunday at 1 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the match could be moved to McCarthy Gymnasium.
The Lady Bulldogs (6-8, 0-6 SEC) posted a 1-2 record in their last week of competition. MSU began by sweeping doubles play in the team's solid 4-1 triumph over the Lady Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee, but could not continue the winning streak, falling in consecutive matches against No. 13 Vanderbilt and No. 38 Kentucky.
MSU freshman Georgiana Patrasc stole an impressive court 1 win against Vandy's No. 46 ranked Lauren Mira in the team's 6-1 loss in Nashville. Patrasc currently stands at 8-6 in dual match singles play with a solid 3-3 SEC record. In the match against Kentucky, Patrasc paired with fellow Lady Bulldog Petra Ferancova to post the team's lone victory, defeating Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and CeCe Witten of UK in an 8-5 decision on court 2.
Lady Razorback tennis (8-10, 1-5 SEC) most recently posted two solid victories in back-to-back matches against Jackson State on Wednesday. Arkansas took the first match 4-0 and posted a 5-0 shutout in the second.
Arkansas boasts two ranked singles on their roster: No. 68 ranked Yang Pang and No. 93 ranked Claudine Paulson. In addition, Paulson pairs up with teammate Segou Jonker to claim the No. 59 slot nationally in doubles.
LSU stands at 8-8 overall and 1-5 in the SEC. They will face Ole Miss in Oxford Friday before heading to Starkville for the Sunday affair with MSU.
Updates for MSU matches can be found on Twitter at @mstateWT. Live stats can be found on hailstate.com.
For the first time in three weeks, the No. 12 Mississippi State men's tennis squad (12-6, 2-4 SEC) will face an SEC West opponent, as the Bulldogs hit the road to face No. 54 Arkansas (12-8, 0-5 SEC) and No. 48 LSU (6-7, 1-4 SEC) this weekend. MSU will face Arkansas this Friday, March 22, at 1 p.m. CT in Fayetteville, Ark., and LSU on Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m. in Baton Rouge, La.
Headlining the Maroon and White lineup is freshman Romain Bogaerts, ranked 18th in the nation, and junior Malte Stropp, ranked 59th in the nation. Bogaerts has 11 wins in the spring, with nine of those coming at the No. 1 position. Stropp enters the weekend with 12 wins for the dual match season.
Senior James Chaudry and freshman Jordan Angus anchor the middle of the Bulldog lineup. Chaudry has claimed seven of his eight victories at the No. 3 spot this season. Angus leads the team with 14 victories for the spring and has won three of his last four matches.
Rounding out the MSU cast is a trio of Bulldogs - junior Zach White and freshmen Stefan Vinti and Pedro Dumont. White has captured five wins in dual match play, while Vinti has four wins for the spring. Dumont, who has won seven matches this spring, also holds an impressive 8-0 record for the 2012-13 season in matches that go to the third set.
In doubles, the Bulldogs' 14th-ranked tandem of Angus and Stropp sit atop the MSU lineup. The duo has won seven matches in dual match play, with five coming against ranked opponents. Most recently, Angus and Stropp came back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat Kentucky's No. 23 team of Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai 9-8(0), helping MSU capture the doubles point.
Closing out the doubles lineup is the team of White and Ethan Wilkinson and the freshmen pair of Bogaerts and Dumont. Both pairs have earned six wins for the spring season.
For the 54th-ranked Razorbacks, they will host the Bulldogs after winning their last match against Texas Pan American 6-1. The Razorbacks sport one ranked doubles squad, as the duo of Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott are ranked 60th in the nation.
The No. 48 LSU Tigers will welcome No. 7 Ole Miss Friday before hosting the Bulldogs in the Sunday afternoon matchup. LSU holds one ranked doubles squad, as Chris Simpson and Stefan Szacinski come in at No. 54 nationally. State and LSU met earlier this season in the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Starkville, with MSU claiming victory. LSU had a big upset over top 15-ranked Texas A&M in College Station this past Friday.
Following this weekend's two-match road swing, the Bulldogs will return home to face in-state rival Ole Miss on Friday, March 29, at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. That match is slated to begin at 2 p.m.
For more information on Mississippi State men's tennis, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter (www.twitter.com/mstatemt) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mstatemt).
Mississippi State University Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin announced Thursday the promotion of Mike Nemeth to Senior Associate AD for Administration, with specific responsibilities in the areas of department-wide contracts, summer camp management, bowl game and other post-season competition organization, and scheduling athletic events. Nemeth will also lead future football scheduling efforts, will serve as the department liaison with auxiliary groups such as the band and all spirit groups, and will oversee and direct an employee orientation program and staff development. He will continue to serve as the sport administrator for baseball and will add similar responsibilities in soccer.
A veteran member of the MSU staff, Nemeth begins his 29th year with the Department of Athletics next month. He previously served as Senior Associate AD for Marketing and Corporate Development for the past five years, and Associate AD for Media Relations and Marketing, in which he worked as the primary media contact for the football program from 1993-2007. Nemeth will continue to serve on the Director's Executive Staff.