News from MSU Media Relations--April 4, 2013

News from MSU Media Relations--April 4, 2013

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department.... Men's Golf, Track and Field, Softball, Baseball, Women's Golf.

Men's Golf

After shooting a 7-under-par, 209, junior Axel Boasson celebrated a huge Bulldog win at the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate. Now he will take home the SEC Player of the Week honor.

"This is another feather in the cap of our program to have Axel receive this honor," Coach Clay Homan said. "To have two players of the week in the same semester says a lot about the level our guys are playing. Axel has really improved both mentally and physically this year and has developed into a very good player."

The honor was the second time this season the Bulldogs have taken home the SEC POW, fellow junior Chad Ramey won in March. This is the first time State has had two players win in the same year.

Boasson's third-place card was his second Top 5 finish of the season, and his fourth-consecutive Top 15 card. The junior is on-pace to have the third-lowest stroke average in MSU history after lowering his average to 72.03 for the year.

Boasson is now 500-144-25 against opponents this season. He beat out 72 other golfers at the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate, included in those players was former SEC player of the week Chad Ramey.The third win of the season ranks second all-time for most wins in a season for MSU.


Track and Field

After an impressive showing in the Lone Star State, Mississippi State track and field will make the 80-mile trip east for the Alabama Invite in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

Squads from Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Penn State will join the Bulldogs for the one-day meet hosted by the Alabama Crimson Tide. MSU will have 40 athletes competing this weekend at the Sam Bailey Track and Field Stadium, covering a total of 32 different events.

The Bulldogs change up their relay teams on Saturday, testing the foursome of Tavaris Tate, Scottie Hearns, Jarrett Samuels and Randy Patterson in the 4x400-meter relay. Last weekend in Texas, Tate, Daundre Barnaby and Brandon McBride joined Patterson for the relay, where the Maroon and White raced to a first-place finish, clocking a time of 3:05.35. On the women's side, freshman Ste'yce McNeil will connect with Brittney Covington, Kanishia Carey and Ocian Archer in the women's 4x400-meter relay.

"I'm looking forward to seeing our athletes compete Saturday," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "We have a lot of momentum coming off a great weekend at the Texas Relays, and this will be another chance to keep improving."

Events start at 10:30 a.m., beginning with the men's hammer throw and are expected to conclude at 8:30 p.m. with the women's 4x400-meter relay.

Following this weekend's action, MSU will head to Baton Rouge for the Battle on the Bayou on April 13.

For all the latest updates on the Alabama Invite, visit rolltide.com and follow Bulldog track and field on Twitter (@msutracksarah).


Softball

Trailing by a run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Mississippi State softball senior Jessica Cooley crushed a two-run home run, carrying the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win against UAB Wednesday night at Freedom Ridge Park. The Bulldogs improved to 23-12 overall, while the Blazers fell to 24-8 on the year.

"It was another great game between the two teams, and it was important for RPI purposes," Head Coach Vann Stuedeman said. "We were glad to pull it out tonight."

In a matchup of two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago featuring a pair of squads in the top 35 of the RPI, it was the Bully Bombers who struck first on the scoreboard. Junior catcher Sam Lenahan started off in the opening stanza with a deep solo shot on her second pitch, giving the home team an early 1-0 lead.

The Blazers tied it up in the fifth with solo homers by Chandler Orr and Amy Dennis.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, MSU freshman Loryn NIchols doubled down the left-field line to put the tying run in scoring position. Following the second out of the frame, Cooley stepped to the dish. Three pitches in, the Birmingham Bombers sent a 1-2 offering deep into the Mississippi Night, scoring the game-winning run with her fourth long ball of the season.

"Jessica is one of those players you pull for all the time," Stuedeman said. "I am so happy for her to pull us through."

Junior right-hander Alison Owen relieved senior lefty Stephanie Becker in the top of the fifth to pick up her 12th triumph in 2013 (12-5), striking out seven Blazers in eight batters faced to seal the victory.

Starkville's Team now travels to the Sunshine State for a three-game set starting Friday at 5 p.m. CT at No. 3 Florida. The Bulldogs play the Gators against Saturday at 2 p.m. CT, before wrapping up the series Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. For live in-game updates of MSU's SEC showdown in Florida, 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.


Baseball

Mississippi State senior infielder Sam Frost is among 28 Southeastern Conference student-athletes nominated for the 2013 H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award, the SEC announced Wednesday. Frost, from Hoover, Ala., and MSU softball pitcher Stephanie Becker from Aurora, Ill., are MSU's nominees for the award. The Southeastern Conference, in conjunction with AT&T, provides the league's male and female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award winners with $15,000 post-graduate scholarships. The 26 remaining finalists each receive $7,500 post-graduate scholarships. The award recipients are chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from the 14 SEC institutions and will be honored May 30 during the SEC's annual spring meetings in Sandestin, Fla.

The award was first presented in 1986 and honors the memory of H. Boyd McWhorter, who served as the SEC Commissioner from 1972 to 1986. Former Diamond Dogs Burke Masters and Jeremy Jackson were honored as SEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year in 1990 and 1998.

Frost, one of two baseball players up for this year's honor, is on target to earn a B.S. degree in mathematics this summer at Mississippi State. A three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection, the Bulldog infielder has been inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He has played in 164 games, drawn 92 starts at second and third base, and played on MSU teams that advanced to NCAA regional tournament competition the last two seasons and in 2012 captured the SEC Baseball Tournament title.

He is the son of Donna and Steve Frost of Hoover, Ala.


Women's Golf

On the brink of tying a 13-year-old school record for consecutive Top 10 finishes, the Mississippi State women's golf team will travel of Oxford Friday for the M&F Bank Rebel Intercollegiate hosted at the par-72, 6,351-yard Ole Miss Golf Course.

The Lady Bulldogs have posted eight consecutive Top 10 finishes this season, only one shy of the program-record nine consecutive set during the 1999-2000 season. MSU made its first postseason appearance in the East Regional that season.

State is making its fifth-consecutive appearance in the Ole Miss-hosted event with its best finish coming last season when MSU posted a 902 to earn a sixth-place finish.

So far this season, the Lady Bulldogs own a 301.25 average scoring clip, which is on pace to break the school's all-time mark by over four strokes.

"It is exciting see the progress these girls have made not only this season but over the last few seasons," third-year MSU head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "To know that we have the opportunity to do something no other team or only one other team has done at this school is special. With that in mind, we still have a lot to improve on because we are not where we need to be or want to be to compete in this conference."

Leading the way in the MSU lineup will be standout sophomore Ally McDonald. Her 72.71 scoring average ranks fifth in the Southeastern Conference and is on pace to set State's all-time mark by nearly two strokes. The Fulton, Miss., native has posted a Top 20 finish in all eight events this season and five Top 5's. During last season's event in Oxford, McDonald carded a 3-over-par 219 en route to a share of sixth-place.

Gabi Oubre' aims to continue her recent hot streak at Ole Miss with her 76.54 scoring average, which ranks in the Top 15 among SEC freshmen. The Mobile, Ala., native has posted back-to-back Top 25 cards, the first two of her young career.

Sophomore Elena Warren is also in the midst of one of the best semesters of her career. Three of her five lowest tournament scores have come this spring. One of those five however came during last season's Rebel Intercollegiate when she posted a 14-over-par 230.

Fellow sophomore Rica Tse has struggled as of late but is primed for a strong performance back in the Magnolia State. During the 2012 event, the New Zealand-native posted a 12-over-par 228 to narrowly miss the Top 25.

Mary Langdon Gallagher is perhaps the most familiar with the Ole Miss Golf Course. The junior has appeared on the course twice as a collegiate player and numerous more times during her amateur career.

She posted a 2-over-par 74 and a 1-over-par 73 in the first and second rounds, respectively, last season.

"We have a good bit of experience on this course that should help us," Brown-Lemm said. "Ally and Mary Langdon played this course before coming here. Elena and Rica both saw it last year so Gabi will be the only who is new to the course. Coach Phillips has also played here many times as well. With the way we are playing right now and our knowledge of this course, I think we are set up for a very strong finish."

The Lady Bulldogs will challenge a host of ranked teams including No. 20 Tulane, No. 24 Baylor, No. 29 LSU, No. 34 Kentucky and No. 49 Coastal Carolina. Other teams in the field include East Tennessee State, Furman, Harvard, Memphis, Minnesota, Missouri, Murray State, Ole Miss, Redlands Community College, Southern Miss, Troy and Tulsa.

"The field is stronger than it traditionally is for this event but we can compete with every team here," Brown-Lemm said. "Baylor and Tulane are strong teams and then to have three SEC teams in Kentucky, LSU and Ole Miss just makes it that much stronger."

The M&F Bank Rebel Intercollegiate tees off Friday with at 9:51 a.m. CST. The Lady Bulldogs are slated to tee off on hole No. 1 beginning at 9:30 a.m. alongside SEC-foe Missouri and Minnesota.

Live stats and post-round results will be available through Hailstate.com and admission to the event is free.

Following the trip to Oxford, the Lady Bulldogs will turn their focus to the SEC Championship on Friday, April 19, hosted at Greystone Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.

Fans can also follow the women's golf program through Facebook at facebook.com/mstateWG and on Twitter at @mstateWG.

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