Sports Brief

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

Ole Miss will try to build on a weekend sweep of Lipscomb tonight as SEC play draws near.
The Rebels have just one mid-week game this week, a 6:30 p.m. start today against Jackson State.
Ole Miss (13-4) allowed just one run over the weekend in defeating Lipscomb 8-0 on Friday, 3-0 Saturday and 5-1 Sunday.
SEC play begins this weekend, and Ole Miss opens at home against Alabama. The Rebels’ 2.86 staff ERA ranks fifth in the SEC this week.
Jackson State is 7-7 after a doubleheader sweep of Alcorn on Sunday. The Tigers last faced Ole Miss in 2009 in Oxford, an 8-7 Rebels win.
Jackson State was hitting .263 and pitching with a 3.43 team ERA going into the Alcorn series.

Final tuneup for Bulldogs starts at home tonight
• STARKVILLE – Preparing for their SEC opener with Vanderbilt, Mississippi State will try to get back in the win column with a pair of mid-week contests.
Today, the Bulldogs (12-4) will host Eastern Illinois (1-10), with first pitch at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Illinois was swept by Alabama over the weekend.
State then travels to Nashville to play Lipscomb (7-9) in a 2 p.m. contest Wednesday. Lipscomb was swept by Ole Miss over the weekend.
The Bulldogs will open their SEC schedule for 2011 with games at Vanderbilt (16-1), ranked No. 2 in the nation by Baseball America, and No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball. The action begins Friday at 6 p.m.
The Bulldogs are coming off a Sunday 8-3 loss to Sacred Heart, but did take the weekend series 2-1.

Baseball tourney at ICC affected by Monday’s rain
• Only one of the 10 high school baseball and softball games scheduled to be played Monday on the Fulton campus of Itawamba Community College was completed.
North Pontotoc defeated Baldwyn 11-0 in an ICC High School Baseball Challenge game that started at 10 a.m. Monday. Pontotoc and Nettleton tried to play but couldn’t complete an inning due to the rainy conditions.
The rest of Monday’s baseball slate was postponed to later in the week. Houston and Itawamba AHS will make up their Monday contest on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. at ICC.
Mantachie and Tupelo will play their ICC game at 6:30 Thursday evening, and Amory and Hamilton will play theirs at 1:30 Friday afternoon.
The ICC Baseball Challenge is to resume this afternoon with its original schedule of games for today.
Meanwhile, the ICC High School Softball Challenge is scheduled to get going at 10 this morning with the first of six games scheduled for today.

Major Leagues
Bullpen seals it for Red Sox
• FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Boston Red Sox showed off their much-improved bullpen Monday, shutting down the New York Yankees 2-1 in their second and final meeting of spring training.
Five relievers – including closer Jonathan Papelbon (MSU) – followed ex-Yankee Alfredo Aceves to the mound, combining for six shutout innings.
New Red Sox setup man Bobby Jenks earned the win, striking out one in a one-hit sixth. In five spring outings, he has not allowed a run.

In brief
• The NFL Players Association is putting into place a plan to urge top college prospects to avoid attending next month’s draft in New York, ESPN reported on Monday. At least 17 likely first-round picks have been contacted by officials of the decertified NFLPA.
• For the second year in a row, the Delta State women’s basketball team had their season end with a loss to Arkansas Tech in the NCAA Division II South Region finals. Tech won 85-77 on Monday night after racing to an early 23-4 advantage. DSU (28-4) lost three of its four games with Tech this season.
• The Southern Miss football team opened its spring practice Monday with a long workout that moved inside after it began to rain. The Golden Eagles will resume work on Wednesday.
• Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel, age 23, has extended his contract with the Red Bull team until the end of the 2014 season.

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