The Notebook: 2-23

Not many weekends on campus will be busier than the one now concluding at Mississippi State.

Just about every spring sport MSU has played somewhere over the last few days, meaning this notebook is as much about catching up as anything.

BhHD8yVIMAAaqBxThough before we get into game results, a couple notes from the NFL Scouting Combine need to be shared. Gabe Jackson and LaDarius Perkins were both in Indianapolis, the two representatives from MSU.

Perkins was noted on as one of the top performers among running backs, clocking a 4.46 40-yard dash, bench pressing 225 pounds 23 times, registering a 33.5 inch vertical jump and finishing with a 124 inch broad jump (10’4″).

The consensus seems to be that Perk did well for himself.

Jackson ran a 5.51 in the 40, notched 30 reps on the bench, recorded an impressive (at 335 pounds) 29-inch vertical jump, a 103-inch broad jump (8’7″), ran the three cone drill in 8.25 seconds and finished the 20-yard shuffle in 4.78.

While his numbers were certainly good, the biggest impression Jackson appeared to make was with his size, with scouts and analysts frequently praising his gigantic build.

In baseball, one cool note comes off the field: Gary and Manuel Washington were at the game today, and both actually played in the first-ever game at Dudy Noble back in 1967. I had hoped to catch up with them, but I hear they enjoyed the return to the stadium they opened.

As for the games themselves, you likely know MSU split the weekend series with Holy Cross 2-2.

The Bulldogs had up and down performances in many areas, struggling to pull the whole thing together.

On Sunday, Cohen said, much of the issue was pitching, though he did like what he saw at times.

“We just had huge misses on the mound and they did not,” he said. “When you keep challenging the strike zone like they did and the defense is engaged, your defense is going to play great.”

Cohen went on to say he’s confident MSU will get things right, though the 4-4 start is not what he envisioned.

“This club will keep progressing,” he said. “It’s got too many positive parts to let negative things mess it up.”

VOXALVONOIADYLF.20131116220532While the end results weren’t positive the last two games, some individual performances have been. Brandon Woodruff had a great game on the mound in his second start of the year on Friday, junior Jacob Lindgren racked up six strikeouts in relief on Sunday, Wes Rea jacked three home runs in Saturday’s doubleheader and junior Jake Vickerson is the early season breakout star.

The speedy outfielder went 7-for-14 (.500) on the weekend with five runs, four walks, three stolen bases, two RBI and two doubles, in addition to a couple nifty catches in the outfield.

On the other diamond, MSU’s softball team is continuing its dominating start to 2014. Vann Stuedeman’s team is 14-0 after sweeping Iowa in Starkville this weekend, the second-best start to a season in program history.

In those 14 games, the Bulldogs have only allowed seven runs. Meanwhile at the plate, senior catcher Sam Lenahan is killin’ it. She led the Bulldogs in the home stand with a .444 batting average (four-for-nine), nine runs batted in, four runs scored, three home runs and a 1.444 slugging percentage.

MSU actually run-ruled the Hawkeyes in the fifth inning today to claim the sweep.

“We always say champions are made on Sundays,” assistant coach Beth Mullins said, “and our girls really came out and competed today.”

Later on Sunday, the women’s basketball team got one of the biggest wins of the MSU weekend, taking down Ole Miss 72-70 in overtime at The Hump. Vic Schaefer’s Bulldogs actually trailed by double-digits in the second half, but fought their way back to tie it and eventually win.

ZTKTKQEMRKKGGNB.20140223231705Junior forward Martha Alwal, as she often is, was the star of the game, racking up an impressive 25 points and 23 rebounds.

MSU is now 18-10 overall.

“It was one heck of a game,” Schaefer said. “Any Mississippi State fan with a pulse knows the importance of playing the school up north and beating their butts. I think the biggest key today was the crowd. It really got us going. There was some tremendous energy in the building today.

“It’s a great day to be a Bulldog.”

On Saturday in The Hump, Rick Ray’s men’s team fought through similar circumstances, clawing back from a big deficit to get back in the game late, but his Bulldogs ran out of both time and point guards, eventually falling 73-69 to Arkansas.

It was one of those odd statistical games where MSU actually led in many of the important categories and had several good individual performances, despite the end result being a loss.

To that end, Ray was happy with a lot of what he saw, but said turnovers and free throw shooting were two of the downfalls, in addition to point guards Trivante Bloodman and IJ Ready both leaving the game at different times due to injury, with neither returning.

Ray tinkered with the lineup some, going with a starting five of Ready, Bloodman, Craig Sword, Roquez Johnson and Gavin Ware, and it seemed to have a good effect.

In fact, after being removed from the starting lineup, senior forward Colin Borchert answered with 21 points and seven rebounds, shooting 5-6 from three point range.

LIQYTKLXKCTXJEM.20130224191504Also in Starkville on Saturday, the women’s tennis team had a stellar doubleheader, blanking both Alabama A&M and Alcorn State 7-0.

The dominating wins have Daryl Greenan’s team ranked with an 8-2 record, including a 6-0 mark at home.

“The girls have done a good job taking care of business,” he said. “There’s no doubt that our competition will get tougher through the rest of the season in SEC play, but I like what I’m seeing. We’re doing a lot of things well, and we’re just going to have to carry that into next weekend and beyond and be able to do it with full confidence.”

Outside of Starkville, the No. 11 men’s tennis team had a rough start to the weekend, dropping matches to ranked VCU and Auburn, but had a nice finish to the Blue Gray Classic by taking down Princeton 4-2.

The Bulldogs now sit at 10-4 and start SEC play next weekend at home, hosting No. 36 Alabama.

On the links, men’s golf had some individual success at the Bayou City Collegiate Championship over the weekend, but the 11th place finish was lower than head coach Clay Homan wanted.

“It was a very disappointing way to end the tournament,” Bulldog head coach Clay Homan said. “We didn’t handle a little adversity thrown our way. In this game you have to be strong minded and able to focus on what you are out there to do. Right now, we only have two guys who are at a high level both physically and mentally.”

The high point came from senior Chad Ramey, who turned in a 1-over-par 73 on Sunday to finish at 3-under-par for the weekend, earning his fourth top-15 finish of the young season.

Coach Ginger Brown-Lemm’s women’s golf team made it down to New Orleans for their tournament, but weather postponed play until tomorrow.

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