News from MSU Media Relations--March 7, 2014

News from MSU Media Relations--March 7, 2014

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department....Football, Women's Tennis, Men's Tennis and Softball.

Football

Mississippi State students will be able to purchase their 2014 football season tickets online at www.hailstate.com for the first time this August in an initiative announced by the MSU Athletic Department and MSU Student Association on Thursday.

The online process will make purchasing tickets easier for students, who will be able to avoid standing in line on site. Student football season tickets will cost $50 with a portion of that covering the fee for new ticket scanner technology.

"During this Student Association transition period, I am very proud to see sincere effort and a sense of teamwork between both the 2013 and 2014 elected councils," said Michael Hogan, the 2013-14 Student Association President. "Online ticket sales have been in the forefront for many Student Association terms and we are happy to now have this service available for our students. This will be a benefit for the student body as a whole and I am glad to say that the Student Association and MSU Athletics are continuously looking for ways to improve the student experience for all Bulldogs."

Student guest tickets will also be available for purchase via the online system during the week of each home game. In conjunction with the grand opening of the north endzone in Davis Wade Stadium, all student seats will move to the lower level. The designated student section will be sections 8-17.

"The Student Association could not be more excited about the implementation of online ticket sales," said incoming Student Association President Brett Harris. "The move from 'getting in line' to 'going online' for tickets is better for students and athletics alike. This is another proud accomplishment in an ongoing partnership between the MSU Student Association and MSU Athletic Department."

Students who are members of Hail State Rewards will be allowed to purchase tickets during a specific time period before they go on sale to the general student population. For more details on Hail State Rewards, visit www.hailstate.com/rewards.

More details on student ticket purchasing will be announced in the coming months leading up to the 2014 season.

Women's Tennis

After dropping their first two SEC matches on the road last weekend, the Mississippi State women's tennis team (8-4 overall, 0-2 SEC) will return to the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on Friday, as the Bulldogs host No. 11 Georgia at 3 p.m.

This will be the 35th meeting all time between these two teams. Georgia enters the match with a 7-2 overall record and a 1-0 start to SEC play, after defeating Tennessee 7-0 last Saturday. Georgia also comes in with a three-match winning streak, dating back to February 21, and has four players ranked in the top 50 of the latest ITA singles rankings.

Mississippi State is led by No. 93 Georgiana Patrasc, who picked up her second win of the season over a ranked opponent, defeating Auburn's No. 114 Emily Flickinger. Seniors Roseline Dion and Alexandra Perper are also a combined 15-3 in dual matches this season, while freshman Timea Guibe enters the weekend with an 8-3 dual match record.

"Georgia's a legitimate top 15 team," said head coach Daryl Greenan. "They're loaded with talent. It's like when we played Alabama, there were some areas where we really competed well against them. If we can do the same or better against Georgia, then we give ourselves a shot to have a strong outing against them."

Live stats for this match will be provided on hailstate.com.

Men's Tennis

Starting off Southeastern Conference play 2-0 for the third-straight season, the 17th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs (12-4, 2-0) are set for their first road conference tests of the season, taking on the 16th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (5-5, 1-0) and the 13th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers (11-4, 0-1) this weekend.

State will travel to Athens, Ga., on Friday, March 7, to take on the Bulldogs in a 1 p.m. CT matchup and then will move on to Knoxville, Tenn., to battle the Vols in a Sunday, March 9, match at 12 p.m. CT.

The Bulldogs continue to use of experience and youth to lead their lineup, with senior Malte Stropp, ranked 71st, and freshman Florian Lakat, ranked 63rd, at the top of the order. Stropp, who has taken over the No. 1 position in the lineup, has put together 13 wins for the 2013-14 campaign, with five ranked victories. Lakat, who was recently named SEC Freshman of the Week for a third time this season, has gotten his collegiate career off to a great start, with 16 overall victories and 10 in dual match play. Nearly half of the freshman's wins in the spring have come against ranked foes.

In the middle for the Bulldogs is the duo of senior Zach White and sophomore Jordan Angus. White has earned nine victories for the season while seeing time at the two, three and four spots in the lineup and is one win away from earning his 60th career singles win. Angus has strung together 10 wins this spring while also seeing time at several positions throughout the MSU lineup.

Anchoring the Bulldogs at the bottom have been a number of newcomers. Freshman Rishab Agarwal has held down the No. 5 position for most of the spring, putting together a 9-4 record so far. Freshman Robin Haden (4-1 in dual match play) and junior Tassilo Schmid (5-3 in dual match play) have split time at the No. 6 position during the spring, with freshman Egbert Weverink going 1-0 in his only appearance of 2014.

In doubles play, State is led by the tandem of Angus and Stropp, who are 7-3 this spring and have won their last four matches. With last weekend's doubles victories, Stropp moved past current coach Per Nilsson for 7th place in the MSU all-time career doubles wins with 74. Rounding out the MSU doubles order are the duos of Florian Lakat and Tassilo Schmid, who have five wins this spring, and Rishab Agarwal and Zach White, who are 7-1 in dual match play.

UGA will throw out a total of five ranked singles players and one ranked doubles squad Friday. Austin Smith (16th), Nathan Pasha (30th), Ben Wagland (66th), Garrett Brasseaux (76th) and Nick Wood (100th) lead the way in singles action for the opposing Bulldogs, while the 14th-ranked team of Wagland and Hernus Pieters headline doubles play.

For the Volunteers on Sunday, a pair of ranked singles players and a ranked doubles squad will be showcased. Hunter Reese, ranked 21st, and Mikelis Libietis, ranked 32nd, top the Vols singles order, with the two also pairing together to form the No. 2 doubles team in the nation.

Following this weekend's action, the Bulldogs will continue their SEC road trip, as they travel to Lexington, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn. MSU will face No. 22 Kentucky on Friday, March 14, at 1 p.m. CT, followed by a Sunday, March 16, battle against No. 18 Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. CT.

Softball

After playing 21 non-conference contests, Mississippi State begins the Southeastern Conference portion of the 2014 slate with three games against No. 8/10 Kentucky. The Bulldogs are 19-2 overall, good for the best 21-game start in program history.

"The second season is here," head coach Vann Stuedeman said. "We have had a great time and it has been a great first few weeks of the year."

At Friday's series opener, autographed 2014 team posters will be given away while supplies last. Prior to Saturday's contest, Hail State foam fingers will be given away while supplies last. Every Sunday this spring at the MSU Softball Stadium is Kids Day. At the field will be FREE face tattoos and ice cream for fans, and kids in eighth grade and under can run the bases after the game.

"I'm looking forward to opening the SEC season here this weekend," Stuedeman added. "We would love for everybody to come out and enjoy it before they head off for spring break."

Mississippi State holds a 27-19 advantage in the all-time series with the Wildcats. The home team has swept the series the last three years. MSU also holds a 16-5 record in Starkville versus Kentucky.

A year ago in Lexington, the Wildcats claimed 5-4, 3-2 and 7-0 triumphs. The opener went 10 innings as Alice O'Brien hit a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th. In game two, a two-run home run from Griffin Joiner gave UK a 2-0 lead in the first. MSU got a run back in the second with a Briana Bell RBI double before a Nikki Sagermann solo long ball in the fourth put the Wildcats up 3-1. Ashley Phillips provided a two-out run-scoring single in the seventh but a groundout ended the contest. Two home runs from Maisie Steed and a long ball from Emily Jolly carried Kentucky to the win in the finale.

Heading into this weekend's series, Mississippi State owns the SEC's lowest team earned-run average (0.64) and batting average against (.132) while also having the league's most strikeouts (181) and fewest hits allowed (64). The Bulldogs are tied for the league lead in fewest walks surrendered with 24.

Following the set with UK, MSU heads to Georgia for the week, playing five games in six days. The Bulldogs start the trek with a Tuesday contest at Kennesaw State. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. CT.

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