Starkville Daily News



Mends Tennis

Despite a 13-day break between matches and 20 days since last playing at home, Mississipp­i State men's tennis showed no signs of rust during a Saturday sweep.

The 20th-ranked Bulldogs blanked Tennessee Tech 7-0 on Saturday morning and capped the evening off with a 5-2 victory over UAB to improve to 11-1 for the year.

"Since we hadn't played in two weeks, it could've gone really good or really bad," MSU junior Carles Hernandez said. "We came out locked in, ready to work and it went great today."

Hernandez and doubles partner Nemanja Malesevic – ranked 33rd nationally – set the tone for the day with their 6-0 victory over Tennessee Tech's Elias Grubert and Jaime Paquet to start things off. The freshman tandem of Michael Novansky and Benito Sanchez Martinez secured the doubles point for MSU with their 6-4 win over Mika Berghaus and Pol Masafret.

Novansky carried that momentum over to singles where he quickly dispatched Paulo Ramos Martin 6-1, 6-0 while Gregor Ramskogler prevailed over Masafret 6-0, 4-6, 6-0. Ewen Lumsden clinched things for the Bulldogs with his 6-4, 6-3 victory against Evzen Holis.

No. 107 Petar Jovanovic earned his 14th straight singles win by topping Berhaus 7-6(5), 6-4 on court one. Patrick Lazo rallied for his second singles win of the spring against Paquet 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 and Sanchez Martinez closed out the sweep with his 6-4, 7-5 victory against Grubert.

State also claimed the doubles point during their second match of the day against UAB. Jovanovic and Ramskogler won 6-2 over Noah Malige and Nikola Puric to tie Ramskogler with Niclas Braun (2016-19) with 60 career dual match doubles victories, the most in school history.

After Novansky and Sanchez Martinez fell to Parker Bradbary and Roman Postolka 6-3, it was up to Hernandez and Malesevic to pull out the point for the Bulldogs. They were able to top Michal Lusovsky and Georgios Nouchakis 6-3 for their fourth clinch of the season.

Mississipp­i State also won the first three singles matches to secure the match before the Blazers were able to get on the board. Hernandez, ranked 113th in singles, took down Vojtech Podzemny 6-1, 6-4 while Malesevic defeated Lusovsky 6-3, 6-4 on court one.

Novansky clinched for the first time in his career with his 6-4, 7-5 victory against Carlos Gimenez Perez. Sanchez Martinez was also a winner, knocking off Nouchakis 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

Jovanovic tasted defeat for the first time since Oct. 16 with his 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 loss to Roman Postolka while Ramskogler was a toughluck loser after falling in two tiebreaker­s to Malige 4-6, 7-6(5), 1-0(3).

Saturday's wins pushed MSU'S non-conference home winning streak to a dozen.

The Bulldogs begin Southeaste­rn Conference play by hosting No. 15 Florida on Thursday at 3 p.m. The two teams met earlier this season during ITA Kickoff Weekend with the Gators claiming a 4-2 victory in Gainesvill­e.


MOBILE, Ala. – The Bulldogs needed everyone on Saturday as Mississipp­i State won a pair of games to improve to 4-0 at the South Alabama Invitation­al.

MSU head coach Samantha Ricketts used 16 players in the day's second game alone.

State downed Louisiana Tech 8-4 to open the day with eight of its nine batters recording a hit. The nightcap was a back-and-forth affair with Furman before the Bulldogs walked it off with a 6-5 victory in extra innings on a solo homer from Saleyna Daniel, who earlier in the game had been doubled off as a potential winning run.

"We talk a lot about being ready,” Ricketts said. “You never know when your number's going to be called. Silk's really been swinging well in practice. It was good to see her come through with a big opportunit­y. Another thing we talk about is being able to bounce back and not taking your at-bat or something on the bases forward into your next moment. I thought she stayed composed, stayed in her plan, and came up big on a pitch she knows she can drive."

State (10-4) tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth against the Paladins (4-8) and took a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. Furman, who had led the entire game up until that point, would not give in. The Paladins tied the game in the top of the seventh, off Matalasi Faapito, who had entered in the sixth. Faapito then proceeded to toss the remainder of the game (5.0 additional innings) while allowing just one more hit.

Aspen Wesley picked up the win against the Lady Techsters (8-4), tossing 1.2 innings as a bridge in relief. Josey Marron took over in the top of the sixth in a 6-4 ballgame and struck out five of the eight batters she faced to earn her first career save.

Offensivel­y, the Bulldogs recorded a season-high 16 hits. Nadia Barbary led the way with two RBIS, and Kat Wallace and Kiersten Landers each collected a career-high three hits.

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