Monday, April 24, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
NSF grant to fund entrepreneurial growth at Mississippi State
Mississippi State University received nearly half a million dollars from the National Science Foundation to launch a program to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in the Golden Triangle Region. A $495,300 grant from the NSF will launch a new Innovation Corps site at MSU. The I-Corps program teaches grantees to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research and offers entrepreneurship training to participants by combining experience and guidance from established entrepreneurs through a targeted curriculum. Sharon Oswald, dean of MSU's College of Business, said the I-Corps site will help the university elevate entrepreneurship at MSU to the next level.
Mississippi State to Lead Major Drone Research Project for US Government
Mississippi State University officials say the school will lead a major research and development project involving drones. School officials say the U.S. Department of Homeland Security selected Mississippi as the new base of operations for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), commonly known as drones. The proposal was developed by the Mississippi Partnership, led by MSU. The demonstration range facility is expected to begin operations this fall.
Mississippi State University-Led Partnership to Oversee DHS Drone Demo Facility
The Department of Homeland Security has chosen a Mississippi State University-led partnership to advance research and development work on small unmanned aerial systems. The Mississippi Partnership will also oversee a sUAS demonstration facility in the state for DHS' science and technology directorate to support flight exercises and assessment of drones in various scenarios such as border protection and disaster relief missions. Dallas Brooks, director of MSU's Raspet flight research laboratory, will head the demonstration range team. "Mississippi has a number of unique assets that facilitate unmanned aircraft test flights that aren't found in many other places, and we can fly year round," Brooks said.
DHS picks Mississippi university for drone testing
The Department of Homeland Security has selected Mississippi State University as the new base of operations for its drone research and development. The department's Science and Technology Directorate is looking to the institution to lead efforts on coordinating aerial drone research within 2,000 square miles of restricted airspace over varying terrain with elevations as high as 60,000 feet. Sites for the drone testing and training exercises include the Army National Guard's Camp Shelby, areas within the Department of Defense's Stennis Space Center and in the waters around Jackson County's Singing River Island where the U.S. Coast Guard has facilities.
Mississippi State to lead drone testing site
Mississippi State University will lead a major research and development project for the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate selected Mississippi as the new base of operations for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), commonly known as drones, and a Mississippi State-led partnership will oversee the initiative. The proposal was developed by the Mississippi Partnership, led by MSU. In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration selected the MSU-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS Through Research Excellence (ASSURE) to operate a new national center of excellence for unmanned aircraft systems. Last fall, the State of Mississippi joined the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex – one of seven of the FAA's UAS test sites.
Hail State Giving Days tops expectations again
Mississippi State University's fourth annual online giving event, Hail State Giving Days, again marked success by exceeding its goal of total donors. For the 2017 event, MSU overwhelmingly surpassed 1,000 donations for areas across campus over a two-day period. During April 10-11, a total of $653,195 flowed in from 1,319 donors in 42 different states over 48 hours. Hail State Giving Days is held on the Monday and Tuesday following the university's Super Bulldog Weekend each year, and all contributions become part of the ongoing Infinite Impact capital campaign. The event's powerful social media presence reached a large audience thanks to numerous online volunteers. Through the website,, 12,498 visits were recorded during the 48-hour period. In addition, the hashtag, #DawgsDigDonors, was tweeted 1,065 times, reaching over 396,010 Twitter accounts.
Hail State Giving Days online fundraiser tops expectations
Mississippi State University's fourth annual online giving event, Hail State Giving Days, exceeded its goal of total donors by surpassing 1,000 donations for areas across campus over a two-day period. During April 10-11, $653,195 came in from 1,319 donors in 42 states. All contributions become part of the ongoing Infinite Impact capital campaign. Hail State Giving Days is powered by social media through #DawgsDigDonors with the collaboration of university alumni, friends, students, parents, faculty and staff.
Mississippi State faculty members net national honors
Four faculty members in Mississippi State's College of Architecture, Art and Design were recently honored with national awards for their work in architectural education. School of Architecture associate professors Hans Herrmann and Alexis Gregory and assistant professor Emily McGlohn, along with Building Construction Science assistant professor Michele Herrmann, were recognized with two Architectural Education Awards by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture during the organization's 105th annual meeting in Detroit, Michigan. "It is truly a remarkable feat and a testament to the quality of our faculty in the School of Architecture to receive two of these prestigious faculty awards from ACSA, let alone one award," said Michael Berk, director of MSU's School of Architecture. "In the past few years, very few of the 120 accredited architecture programs in North America have been as successful as our faculty."
MSU-Meridian hosts library naming ceremony Monday
The public is invited to a naming ceremony for the second Phil Hardin Foundation Library on the Riley Campus of Mississippi State University-Meridian in downtown Meridian at 2 p.m. Monday. The event will be held at the Rosenbaum Building at the corner of Sixth Street and 23rd Avenue.
Pasture Grasses Sprout Early; 2016 Drought Can Still Hurt
A Mississippi State University Extension Service forage specialist says a warm winter and spring rains have sprouted pasture grasses early, but last year's drought can affect both forage production and hay acreage. Rocky Lemus says bermudagrass and bahiagrass have sprouted at least two weeks before normal across the state. He says this will allow early grazing and possibly early production. But he says it's important to act now to control weeds and repair drought damage from last year. "Because of the mild winter, we also have seen an increase in winter weed pressure," he said in a news release. "Controlling those weeds, along with taking a soil sample to determine nutrient management recommendations that will aid pasture recovery after the drought, is very important."
Drought Projected to Dock Hay Harvest in Mississippi
Last year's drought will likely affect this year's hay acreage in Mississippi. Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he anticipates about 690,000 hay acres. The state had about 750,000 acres devoted to hay production in 2016. Mississippi livestock producers heavily depend on perennial warm-season grasses -- mostly bahiagrass and bermudagrass -- for their grazing systems. The state had just over 900,000 acres of bahiagrass and 770,000 acres of bermudagrass last year. Stand losses and hay field renovations are expected to drive bermudagrass production down 10 percent. Brett Rushing, Extension and research professor at the MSU Coastal Plain Branch Experiment Station in Newton, said renovating pastures is an expensive process that causes growers to temporarily lose grazing areas during establishment.
Drought projected to dock from hay harvest
Last year's drought will likely affect this year's hay acreage in Mississippi. Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he anticipates about 690,000 hay acres. The state had about 750,000 acres devoted to hay production in 2016. Despite last year's dry conditions, rainfall totals have been closer to average this spring, causing bermudagrass and bahiagrass to break dormancy at least two weeks before they normally do across the state. Lemus said this will allow early grazing and, perhaps, early production. "Because of the mild winter, we also have seen an increase in winter weed pressure," he said. "Controlling those weeds, along with taking a soil sample to determine nutrient management recommendations that will aid pasture recovery after the drought, is very important."
More Than A Brunch Women's Leadership Conference at Mississippi State
Two Mississippi State students are both working on earning degrees, while also giving back to the women in the community. Seniors Aaliyah Gaston and Shwanda Brooks are a part of the Montgomery Leadership Program. In order to receive their degree, they must complete a final project in their capstone class. The girls decided to host a women's leadership conference. Though the event sprung out of an academic requirement, both Brooks and Gaston hope to continue the conference for years to come. The conference was open to young high school and college female students.
New SOCSD superintendent pledges to create '21st century school district' in Oktibbeha
Incoming Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Eddie Peasant says he's committed to creating a 21st century school district that prepares students for future job markets many have yet to envision. To accomplish this goal, he told a crowd gathered at the Greensboro Center Thursday it will take continued buy-in from parents and the community at large. "You guys exude energy and enthusiasm -- from the community, university, business leaders, students, faculty and administrators. The day I spent in the district with many of you during the interview process convinced me that this is the place I need to be," Peasant said. He laid out three goals for SOCSD: help each student discover and develop their individual talents, teach them to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers; and prepare them for a technological world full of new jobs and careers.
Mississippi jobless rate falls to lowest level since 1976
Mississippi unemployment fell to 5 percent in March, tying the lowest level since the current survey began in 1976. That's down from 5.2 percent in February and 6 percent a year ago. It's the 10th month Mississippi has dipped to 5 percent, including six months in 1999 and three in 2000. Some earlier surveys show Mississippi had lower jobless rates between 1965 and 1974. Low unemployment nationwide means Mississippi's jobless rate remained tied for ninth-highest among states. The U.S. rate fell to 4.5 percent in March from February's 4.7 percent.
Storms leave damage across Lauderdale County
Storms ripped through the area Saturday afternoon leaving a lot of damage behind. Emergency officials responded to dozens of downed tree and limb calls in Meridian and Lauderdale County. Emergency managers say there was also flooding in some parts the county. One area that saw high waters was the intersection of 24th Ave. and 14th St. Officials say cars got stuck in the water in that area. Flooding was also seen on Hwy 19 N near MSU-Meridian to North Hills St.
Camp Shelby at 100 still packs a wallop for defense and the economy
Each year more than twice the number of members of the military train at Camp Shelby than there are residents of Hattiesburg, population 47,566. About 125,000 people train annually there, with about 60 percent coming from the National Guard, and the remainder from the active military services including the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. That pumps a lot of economic activity into the local economy, so much so that Camp Shelby is frequently referred to as the third leg of the three-legged stool of economic development in the Pine Belt area that also includes education and health care.
Citizens can help shape town' future
Corinth residents can help shape the city's path for the next couple of decades as the Envision Corinth 2040 planning process invites public input. The first public meeting, set for Thursday, April 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Corinth Elementary School gym, will present Orion Planning and Design's initial research findings for the city and begin to identify the city's strengths and opportunities. It is part of a comprehensive city planning initiative designed to establish the long-range vision and direction for Corinth. The advisory group includes 28 individuals who are guiding the overall initiative. In addition to the Hernando office of Orion, the planning team includes Alta Planning+Design and the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University.
Analysis: Report says Mississippi pension funding too low
A new report says that even if Mississippi's public employee pension system was meeting investment assumptions, governments still aren't putting away enough money to whittle down debt from previous pension underfunding. The study, released last week by the Pew Charitable Trusts, raises questions about the long-term course of the Public Employees Retirement System, though the system has enough money to pay years' worth of benefits even if governments and employees didn't put in another penny. "You've heard me say, and I still believe, we're not in a crisis," said outgoing PERS Executive Director Pat Robertson. "Are there concerns? Yes." PERS covers state employees, public school teachers, city and county employees, and those who work for public universities and community colleges.
Rep. Steve Holland: 'I'm going to fight as long as I've got'
Everyone wants to have dinner with Steve Holland. As Holland makes his way down to the first-floor members lounge on Sunday of the last weekend of the legislative session, he receives meal invites from several Republican and Democratic colleagues. Pizza in Ridgeland? "Sounds good, brother," Holland responds Holland seems intrigued by the prospect of fellowship, but today he has a taste for lasagna. This, despite the fact, he acknowledges, that his doctors have advised him to eat healthier. The Democrat from the Tupelo area also encounters well-wishers, including the state health officer, Dr. Mary Currier. She looks at Holland admiringly, gives him a hug and whispers a few words of encouragement. Two days earlier, Holland announced to a hushed House chamber that he has frontotemporal dementia and that the current legislative term, which ends in 2020, will be his last. Holland, 61, sat down with Mississippi Today to discuss his decision to go public with his diagnosis and what it means for a health-care champion to face a health-care crisis.
Mississippi, Alabama marking Confederate Memorial Day Monday
State government offices are closed Monday in Mississippi and Alabama for Confederate Memorial Day. Georgia used to mark the holiday, but removed the Confederate reference in 2015. Now, the last Monday in April there is simply called State Holiday. Confederate Memorial Day in Mississippi and Alabama commemorates those who died during the Civil War while fighting for Southern states that tried to secede from the U.S. The Confederate military surrendered in April 1865. South Carolina holds a Confederate Memorial Day in May to mark the day Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson died.
Farmers have a beef with Trump and big meat
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it was delaying implementation of an Obama administration rule designed to give America's farmers more leverage in their dealings with mammoth agriculture companies that control almost every aspect of their livelihoods, so-called Big Meat. The move, though not out of the ordinary for an incoming administration, is seen by farmer advocacy groups as a sign Trump is bending to the will of the industry, which strongly opposes the rule. The decision comes as Sonny Perdue III, the president's pick for secretary of agriculture, is likely to be confirmed next week.
MUW professor to publish international creative writing textbook
Kendall Dunkelberg, director of creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, is set to publish the introductory college textbook, "A Writer's Craft: multi-genre creative writing," with London-based Palgrave Macmillan. The book is scheduled to be released in August in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, India and other English-speaking countries around the globe. "I never expected it to have this wide distribution," said Dunkelberg of the time when he developed the textbook from notes he wrote for his creative writing class. "I had grown dissatisfied with the textbooks I had been using, and felt it was time to go out on my own." Sensing a need for an affordable and evenhanded cross-genre textbook, he gave the manuscript to colleagues at other universities, who encouraged him to try to publish.
Oxford demonstrators march in support of science
Oxford was one of three cities in Mississippi and 600 across the nation who participated Saturday in a March for Science. Approximately 100 people of all ages carried signs and marched a 1-mile route through the Grove, headed east on University Avenue, then north on South Lamar Boulevard. The march ended with a gathering on the Square. Marches were also planned in Long Beach and Hattiesburg as part of a global demonstration in support of science. "Science protects the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children, the foundation of our economy and jobs, and the future we all want to live in and preserve for coming generations," said Luca Bombelli, chair and professor of physics and astronomy at Ole Miss. Another march that had been planned for outside the state Capitol in Jackson was postponed because of a threatening weather forecast.
Dancing event offers unique look at Delta State University
Your Delta State University favorites will be dancing the night away in fierce competition Saturday as The Office of Student Affairs presents Dancing with the DSU Stars at 7 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public. Participants include Delta State President William N. LaForge; Michael Lipford, director of Student Development; Dr. Michelle Roberts, vice president for University Relations and chief of staff; Dr. Temika Simmons, assistant professor of psychology; Todd Cooley, head football coach; and Madison Nash, 2016 Delta State University Homecoming queen. Vice President for Student Affairs Vernell Bennett said she wanted to introduce new ideas to the university. She said, "My initial focus when I arrived at DSU as the Vice President for Student Affairs was to improve student engagement and to build collaborations across the campus and within our community. This fun event will achieve both endeavors because it's a wonderful opportunity for the campus and community to enjoy one another. It's also a way for students to see another side of our faculty, staff and administrators."
William Carey's spring enrollment up despite tornado
The Jan. 21 tornado that struck Forrest and Lamar counties devastated the William Carey University campus. President Tommy King was taking stock of the damage three days after the tornado from the campus facilities building, which had minimal damage. The new volleyball facility on County Road was spared, but every other building on campus was damaged or destroyed. King was not only concentrating on repairing the damage, but on what could be done to keep students enrolled. Medical and physical therapy students were attending classes at the University of Southern Mississippi. Other students were getting instruction online. When the spring trimester started in February, Carey officials were surprised to see enrollment was up 1.1 percent over spring enrollment in 2016. King said they had expected a big decrease. "Given the EF3 tornado which devastated our campus, this increase is remarkable," he said in a written statement. "We had anticipated a loss of 10 percent to 20 percent of our enrollment in the aftermath of the tornado.
Maxine Waters, other democratic leaders address Alabama College Democrats in Auburn
Three days after hundreds gathered for Alt-right leader Richard Spencer's controversial appearance at Auburn University, another guest from the political spotlight visited the same stage. Democratic leader and California Congresswoman Maxine Waters spoke Friday night at Foy Hall. Young democrats from across the state gathered in Auburn on Friday night to hear Waters and other others speak at the Alabama College Democrats 2017 Spring Kickoff reception. Alabama College Democrats President Calvin Wilborn opened the night with an invocation, welcoming the audience who was there to stand up for progressive ideals, "and most importantly, stand up to what is Donald Trump." The anti-Trump theme continued through the rest of the evening as Alabama state representative Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and U.S. Congresswoman Terri Sewell joined Waters's stance against the president.
Kids present historical research in competition that is 'proudest day of the year' for one U. of Kentucky prof
Students as young as fourth grade defended their positions on historical events to college students and professors Saturday as part of a competition aimed at getting youngsters excited about researching history. About 350 students from across the state showed off their research in the National History Day competition at the University of Kentucky. The event is a bit like a science fair, only focused on history. There are divisions for elementary, middle and high school students, and projects can be presented in the form of an exhibit, website, documentary, paper or performance. The event is coordinated by the Kentucky Historical Society and the University of Kentucky College of Education. "The process is all about original historical research," said Cheryl Caskey, state coordinator for the competition. "It's all about finding something that fits the student's interest and learning style."
Provost announces new committee to analyze U. of Missouri enrollment efforts
A new committee at the University of Missouri will advise officials on enrollment planning. MU Provost Garnett Stokes announced the creation of the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee in a news release Friday. The committee will review offerings to prospective students and work to strengthen MU's enrollment management, according to the release. The committee will develop institutional efforts and policy initiatives regarding enrollment. Members will review market research, marketing and communications, student recruitment plans, student success planning, student academic quality, tuition and financial models and student yield, retention and degree persistence.
U. of Missouri opens large animal ambulatory facility
The University of Missouri's Veterinary Health Center opened its new large animal ambulatory facility, a more than $2 million dollar project that will provide more space for students gaining practical experience. John Middleton, professor of food animal medicine and surgery, said the school wants to expand the large animal program and increase the number of veterinarians going into rural practices, an area facing a shortage of qualified personnel. "It's a difficult area to get people to move to," he said. "There are a lot of initiatives both in human medicine and veterinary medicine ... to" incentivize "folks to work in those areas so essential medical and veterinary medical services are provided." University officials held a ribbon cutting and grand opening reception at the facility Friday.
Making a case in the streets for federal support for science
Organizers of the March for Science said that the event in Washington, D.C., and the satellite marches across the country this weekend were just the beginning of a movement to champion science. Those statements would seem to caution against early assessments of the march's success or failure. Key supporters of the event and participants who trekked to the march in D.C. said the goals of the event went far beyond any immediate effects on policy and included communicating with the public about the state of federally funded research and energizing scientists about advocating for their field. Others were concerned with pushing understanding by the public and Congress of the importance of science in shaping federal policy. Fred Lawrence, secretary of the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa, said the March for Science was "a watershed moment in American cultural and social history."
Obama to Deliver First Speech as Ex-President at U. of Chicago
Barack Obama will give his first public speech since leaving office as president at the University of Chicago on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports. Mr. Obama "and young leaders will hold a conversation on civic engagement and discuss community organizing" at the event, his office said. About six people are expected to join him on the stage, ranging in age from high-school students to recent college graduates. Hundreds of people from Chicago-area colleges were invited to attend. The talk will be televised as well. Mr. Obama taught at the University of Chicago's Law School before he began his political career.
Our View: Tuition increases further evidence of misplaced priorities
The Dispatch editorializes: "The three men who run this state -- Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Phillip Gunn -- are guided by a philosophy as Mississippi's economy goes careening down the road to economic ruin. The trio -- let's call it The Notorious B.R.G. For the sake of brevity -- says that Mississippi must 'live within its means' and when times are tough the state must 'tighten its belt.' But slowly, Mississippians are beginning to realize our "means" aren't paying the bills and the belt The Notorious B.R.G. wants to tighten is placed snugly around our necks. Meanwhile, The Notorious B.R.G. has provided more than $1.3 billion in corporate tax cuts/incentives since they assumed power in 2011. Corporations have elastic belts, apparently. But for a lot regular taxpayers, the belt got tighter Thursday."
OUR OPINION: Affordable college must remain goal
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "The cost of college is on the rise again. The College Board on Thursday approved increases in tuition at Mississippi's eight public universities, according to Jeff Amy of the Associated Press. ...Universities have been hit hard by multiple budget cuts since they were promised $773 million in state funding in 2016. They will start the 2018 budget year with $667 million, about 12 percent less than what they actually spent in 2016. Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce told the AP the universities are also working on cutting spending. ...But university leaders said as they strive to maintain academic quality, they've also had to ask for more from their students. ...We urge state leaders to think creatively about ways to make college more affordable. The solution may not be easy or straightforward, but removing barriers to college entry is vital for the future of our state."
Megadeals are damaging state's economy
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes: "Wouldn't you love to sell something for $50 million and only be required to pay back $5 million if you failed to deliver? What a deal. That's the deal Yokohama Tire negotiated with the state of Mississippi. It's the standard 'clawback' provision in Mississippi mega-deal industrial recruitment packages. State grants for the West Point Yokohama plant totaled about $50 million. As it stands now, the Yokohama plant has 411 employees, 18 percent short of their promised 500. Using the clawback formula, the amount of money that has to be returned is multiplied by .1, which means the clawback money is $430,000 rather than $4.3 million, shorting the state $4 million. When the deal was announced, the promoters touted 2,000 jobs after "Phase Two" but don't count on it. The company loses none of its grants or subsidies by failing to implement Phase Two. The software industry calls such promises 'vaporware.' Yokohama Phase Two is a vapor plant. This has been a great deal for Yokohama but a terrible deal for Mississippi taxpayers."
A peek behind legislative leaders' spending rhetoric
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn are touting their great success this year in holding down the cost of government. ...A peek behind the rhetoric suggests something else. You see, legislators didn't really plan to spend less. Most cuts Reeves and Gunn are taking credit for result from mid-year budget cuts ordered by Gov. Phil Bryant. Legislators wanted to spend more money, but when the revenue didn't come in to cover the bills, Bryant had to take action. In so doing he forced the state to live within its means, not legislators. Legislators, then, had little choice but to roll these forced cuts into the budget for next fiscal year since revenues continue to lag. This adds to the growing notion among business leaders that our legislative leaders ain't got a clue when it comes to state finances."
Competency, communications, connections = success
Columnist Phil Hardwick writes: "It's just about the time of year for graduation speeches. Speakers will pass along sage advice and hoped-for inspiration to graduates who yearn for speech brevity. Many speakers will tell students that they should find their passion and get a job doing what they love. That sounds good, but perhaps the more practical advice would be for students to get a job doing what they're good at. Sometimes political speeches creep in. I'm not giving any commencement speeches this year, but I did tell my students that in my humble opinion the three most critical factors in their career success will be competence, communication and connections. As you might imagine, my advice elicited plenty of classroom discussion."
Food stamp impact uncertain
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "One inescapable reality is Mississippi's status as the poorest state in the union. That reality also makes the utilization and usage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps an extremely relevant economic discussion in our state each year. With a new administration, Republican majorities in Congress and a new secretary of Agriculture, change in the SNAP program is certain. The questions then become what kind of changes and how will those changes impact current recipients. Nationally, the cost of the program rose precipitously from $17 billion in 2000 to some $71 billion last year. Participation has risen from 17 million in 2000 to 44 million last year. So what's the scope of that federal program in Mississippi? And what's the economic impact in a state where over 21.9 percent of the state's population were utilizing SNAP in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

Trustees approve Mississippi State borrowing $30M for baseball stadium
Trustees have approved plans for Mississippi State University to borrow up to $30 million to expand and overhaul its baseball stadium. College Board trustees voted Thursday to allow the university to issue bonds for Dudy Noble Field-Polk DeMent Stadium. The total project is supposed to cost $55 million, including $25 million that's supposed to be raised from donations. The project calls for a complete rebuilding of the field, including a new grandstand, concession areas, restrooms and entry plazas, plus 50 private boxes. The university also plans a new video board, new locker rooms and coaching offices, and concrete pads for left-field tailgaters.
Bulldogs win bizarre battle in 13-innings
Mississippi State's quest to sweep Alabama seemed like a long shot after the 15th-ranked Bulldogs fell behind 5-0 and were being no-hit through five innings in the second game of a Friday doubleheader. All of that changed when MSU batted around and scored nine runs on seven hits in the sixth inning. The game only got wilder and more bizarre from there as both team battled back to tie it up twice more before the Diamond Dogs ultimately won 13-12 in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 13th frame. "It was just an incredible way to fight, fight and fight," said MSU skipper Andy Cannizaro. "These victories today symbolize everything that our team is about right now."
No. 16 Mississippi State wins fifth straight SEC series
Andy Cannizaro is approaching his six-month anniversary as Mississippi State's head baseball coach and five straight SEC series wins suggest he would likely receive a positive performance review from John Cohen. Mississippi State's 4-3 win against Alabama Friday night at Dudy Noble Field in the first game of a doubleheader clinched the series for the Bulldogs (the second game did not finish in time for print). More importantly, the victory again suggested that perhaps the 38-year-old first-year skipper isn't in as far over his head as the most pessimistic of the Bulldogs' fans feared in November and at earlier points this season. Cannizaro has discovered a lineup that works after shuffling spots and jobs while pushing the right buttons with his pitching staff, emphasizing the idea of getting the most out of each available arm.
Mississippi State baseball goes extra innings to complete sweep of Alabama
Andy Cannizaro called his third baseman Luke Alexander in for a meeting that could have easily gotten volatile. Alexander was a .324 hitter as Mississippi State entered its Southeastern Conference baseball schedule in mid-March; in the six weeks that had passed since then and before hosting Alabama this weekend, Alexander's average had dropped down to .250. Cannizaro thought the answer was time off, so he told Alexander he would be starting Harrison Bragg in his place and his reasoning for it. Alexander took it as well as anyone could -- then he proved his coach right when he came back. After sitting out the first two games of the series against the Crimson Tide (15-25, 2-16 SEC), Alexander took over as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning of the second game of Friday's doubleheader; he went on to hit a game-tying home run in the sixth and hit into an error that extended the game in the 11th before winning it with a single in the 13th. The 13-12 win gave MSU (28-14, 13-5) the sweep after winning the first half of the doubleheader 4-3.
Mississippi State closes out Alabama
No. 11 Mississippi State perfected its use of the rally cap Friday night/Saturday morning. In the longest game of the season, MSU erased a 5-0 deficit with a nine-run sixth inning and then erased a three-run extra-inning deficit to knock off Alabama 13-12 in a 13-inning SEC baseball game at Dudy Noble Field. That contest was the second part of a doubleheader. In the opener, MSU erased a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 victory.
One freaky Friday in Starkville
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "I've played, covered and watched a lot of baseball in my 35 years on this earth, but I've never encountered a game as crazy as the series finale between Mississippi State and Alabama. A Friday doubleheader which started at 4:03 p.m. and finished up Saturday at 1:50 a.m. featured more bizarre plot twists than an M. Night Shyamalan movie. A total of 43 players were used in the five-hour, 43-minute nightcap -- with 17 pitchers combining to throw 459 pitches. The length of the game wasn't even close to being the weirdest thing I witnessed. After all, I've covered the only two 17-inning games in MSU history as well as the four-hour, 52-minute marathon against Georgia last year -- which was the longest nine-inning game in baseball history. Let's start from the beginning..."
Florida Gators' Twitter account takes shot at LSU after weather forces spring game indoors
LSU at Florida football on Oct. 7 in Gainesville just got a lot more interesting... After lightning forced the Tigers' spring game indoors, the Florida Gators' official Twitter account threw some shade (as the kids would say) at LSU. The tweet references the spat last season that occurred when the Tigers and Gators butted heads over rescheduling their game because of a tropical system barreling toward Florida days before they were scheduled to play. The Tigers offered to play that game on a different day or in a different location while Florida opted to wait the storm out to decide, prompting angst in Baton Rouge. The Southeastern Conference eventually weighed in and forced Florida to play in Baton Rouge and have LSU play in Gainesville two-straight seasons.
SEC's Greg Sankey refuses to step down in UNC academic case
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey has denied a request seeking his removal as head of the NCAA infractions panel handling North Carolina's ongoing academic case because of a conflict of interest. Sankey stated in an April 14 letter obtained by The Associated Press that the panel would "fairly decide this case." "The panel, including me, will hear and decide this case based on the case record and the membership's bylaws," Sankey wrote to all involved parties. Elliot Abrams -- a Raleigh attorney representing a retired office administrator charged with violations -- had written the NCAA saying Sankey had a "personal, professional and institutional interest" in the outcome as SEC commissioner while comparing it to "refereeing a championship game between an (Atlantic Coast Conference) team and an SEC team."

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