24 Jul

around the horn

Only one player in the majors was hotter than Alex Presley over the last seven days. The former Ole Miss standout went 13-for-25, including a 3-for-5 on Sunday, for Detroit. His .520 average was second to Chris Taylor’s .542 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Journeyman Presley, who is with his fifth major league team, is batting .344 on the year for the Tigers, who appear to have waved the white flag on 2017. … Ex-Taylorsville High star Billy Hamilton was hot, too, batting .385 over the last seven days for Cincinnati, another scuffling team. “Billy is hitting the ball on the screws again,” Reds manager Bryan Price said in an Associated Press story. Hamilton (.258 on the season) had three hits and stole two bases on Sunday; he leads the majors with 43 bags. … Southern Miss product Brian Dozier is riding a nine-game hit streak for Minnesota, still contending in the American League Central. He hit his 16th homer on Sunday, his third during the streak. … Former Ole Miss star Bobby Wahl, on a rehab assignment with Oakland, has fanned six batters in two innings of work at Class A Stockton. He has eight K’s in 7 2/3 MLB innings this year; he has been on the disabled list since May 24. … USM alum Dylan Burdeaux, a 20th-round pick by Detroit last month, is batting .294 in four games at Class A West Michigan; the first baseman hit .319 in 13 games at the short-season A level. Burdeaux led NCAA Division I in hits this season with 102 (six more than Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker). … Kirk McCarty, also drafted out of USM in June (seventh round), has a 0.59 ERA in six appearances for Cleveland’s short-season Mahoning Valley club. Left-hander McCarty tossed three hitless innings on Sunday. … Ex-State star Jake Robson, a second-year pro, is batting .340 in 24 games at high-A Lakeland in the Detroit system. The lefty-swinging outfielder is hitting .432 over his last 10 games. … Highly rated Atlanta prospect Kolby Allard yielded a grand slam and a three-run bomb in the Mississippi Braves’ 7-0 loss to Biloxi at Trustmark Park on Sunday. Allard (5-9) has allowed six homers in his last three starts and seen his ERA jump from 2.88 to 3.75. … Ole Miss’ Ryan Rolison got the win with a 1-2-3 inning in Saturday’s Cape Cod League All-Star Game. Rolison, 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA for Orleans this summer, also got rave reviews from Baseball America, which reports that the left-hander is looking like a first-round pick in 2018.

18 Jul

here and there

Seth Smith’s 10th home run of the season helped Baltimore beat Texas 3-1 on Monday. The former Ole Miss standout has reached double digits in home runs in all but one of his last nine MLB seasons, which he has spent with five different clubs. … UM alum Alex Presley had two hits for Detroit and is now 20-for-67 (.299) in 25 games as a bench player for the Tigers. … All-Star Corey Dickerson, the ex-Meridian Community College star, has gone homerless in 18 straight games for Tampa Bay. He has 17 bombs on the year. His recent slump has dropped his average to .311. … Mississippi Gulf Coast CC product Tony Sipp gave up two homers in the 10th inning and took the loss for Houston against Seattle. Sipp, whose ERA rose to 4.45, has yielded five homers in 28 1/3 innings. He allowed 12 in 43 2/3 in 2016. … There are reports that Atlanta is considering sending Dansby Swanson to the minors. The ex-Mississippi Braves star is batting .220 and losing playing time at shortstop to Johan Camargo, who is batting .322. … Mississippi State alum Dakota Hudson improved to 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA for Double-A Springfield in the St. Louis system. The 2016 first-round draftee allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings of work on Monday. … Also on that Springfield team is Ole Miss product Chris Ellis, who has trimmed his ERA to 3.82 with a couple of good outings. Ellis began the season in Triple-A but was demoted with a 7.88 ERA. … Former DeSoto Central High star Austin Riley belted his first Double-A homer on Monday for the M-Braves, who lost at Pensacola to fall to 6-18 in the second half of the Southern League campaign. The M-Braves, 0-10 at Trustmark Park this half, host Biloxi (11-14) for a five-game series starting Wednesday. … Ole Miss’ Ryan Rolison and State’s Jake Mangum have been chosen for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, set for Saturday in Wareham, Mass. Rolison is 4-0, 1.86 ERA for Orleans (East), and Mangum is batting .337 with 12 runs and 10 steals for Harwich (West).

10 Jul

summer stock

Yes, it’s been quite a summer for Ole Miss’ Ryan Rolison. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three starts for Orleans, which is in first place (15-8) in the Cape Cod League’s East Division. Rolison threw five hitless innings on Sunday, striking out eight in the Firebirds’ 8-2 win over Chatham. Rolison has allowed just four hits with 22 strikeouts and four walks in 14 1/3 innings in the elite college summer league. As a freshman at Ole Miss last season, he went 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA. Mississippi State’s Luke Alexander is batting .311 with a homer and eight RBIs for Cotuit, which leads the CCBL West. Hyannis is having a tough season, but State’s Jake Mangum (.354) and Southern Miss’ Nick Sandlin (2.20 ERA in nine games) have performed well for the Harbor Hawks. … Closer to home, the Tallahatchie Rascals lead the New Albany-based Cotton States League standings with an 8-3-1 record. Blue Mountain alum Miciah Heard is batting .348 with 15 steals for the Rascals, and Benjamin Smith (Saltillo) and Wyatt Bailey (Coahoma Community College) are among the league’s ERA leaders. Hunter Bishop (Oxford) is batting .375 for the Tippah County Tribe, second in the league at 7-3-2. The CSBL’s top hitter is the Golden Triangle Jets’ Isaiah Eiland (East Mississippi CC), who is batting .486 with 11 runs and 10 steals. Luke Miller (EMCC) is batting .447 with 13 runs and Tucker Childers (Northeast CC) is at .433 with two homers and 11 RBIs. Both play for the Hill Country Generals. Alan Rickman of the North Delta Dealers is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 26 innings. … UM’s Dallas Woolfolk worked three scoreless innings for the Collegiate National Team in its recent five-game series against Cuba. Team USA won 3-2. State’s Konnor Pilkington made two starts but got no decisions while posting a 6.00 ERA. The team starts a five-game series against Japan on Wednesday.

30 Jun


Ole Miss product Zack Cozart, eligible to come off the disabled list (thigh strain) on Wednesday for Cincinnati, could be activated today, according to reports. The Reds host the Chicago Cubs this weekend at Great American Ballpark. Cozart is batting .320 with nine homers and 33 RBIs and led the voting for National League All-Star shortstop at last look. The rosters will be announced on Sunday on ESPN. … McComb native and Meridian Community College product Corey Dickerson was leading the vote for American League DH in the most recently released results. He is batting .330 with 17 homers and 39 RBIs for Tampa Bay. … Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton, the ex-Taylorsville High standout, was passed by Trea Turner for the MLB stolen base lead on Thursday, but with Turner now on the disabled list (broken wrist), Hamilton is the leading active thief with 33 bags. Turner has 35, Miami’s Dee Gordon 29. … Former Mississippi State star Hunter Renfroe hit his first home run in 13 days on Thursday, helping San Diego beat Atlanta. Renfroe has 16 homers – a record for a Padres rookie before the All-Star break – though he is batting just .225. … Former Mississippi Braves standout Freddie Freeman is expected to make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday. He could return to the Braves – at third base – next week. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. M-Braves alum Johan Camargo has played fairly well at third for Atlanta and is batting .293 with 12 RBIs and 10 runs in 31 games all told. … Current M-Braves Mike Soroka and Ronald Acuna have been chosen for the World team in the All-Star Futures Game, set for July 9 in Miami. Former Biloxi Shuckers shortstop Mauricio Dubon, now in Triple-A, is also on the World roster. … Jake Mangum is off to a sizzling start in the Cape Cod League. The MSU star out of Jackson Prep is batting .359 with hits in nine of the 10 games he has played for Hyannis. Mangum had two hits in each of his first five games in the summer league. He was drafted in the 30th round by the New York Yankees as an eligible sophomore but is expected to return to Starkville for the 2018 season. … Brandon’s John “J.T.” Ginn and Hattiesburg’s Joe Gray have been participating in the Tournament of Stars this week in Cary, N.C. They are among the 80 prep players invited to the USA Baseball complex to compete for spots on the Under-18 National Team.

19 Jun

numbers to crunch

29 – Stolen bases, a total which leads the majors, by ex-Taylorsville High star Billy Hamilton, who got one Sunday to end a 13-game drought. Hamilton also had three hits, two runs and an RBI in fading Cincinnati’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
4 – Home runs allowed, a career-high, by Ole Miss alum Lance Lynn in 4 2/3 innings in St. Louis’ 8-5 loss to Baltimore. Lynn (5-4) yielded seven runs all told.
7 – Homers on the year for ex-UM star Seth Smith, who hit a leadoff bomb for Baltimore, the first of the four Lance Lynn allowed for St. Louis. Smith, batting .271, had two other hits and scored three times.
91 – Hits, most in the American League, by Meridian Community College product Corey Dickerson, who tallied three on Sunday. He is batting .330.
7 – Runs allowed in four games at Target Field by Cleveland in a sweep of Minnesota that moved the Indians into first place in the AL Central. Former Ole Miss star Mickey Callaway, the Indians’ pitching coach, saw his staff’s ERA drop to 3.93, tied for third-best in the AL.
3 – Hits in 13 at-bats in the Cleveland series by ex-Southern Miss standout Brian Dozier, who had a homer and two RBIs for Minnesota, which had a 2-game division lead before the Tribe arrived in town.
34 – Wins in 70 games for the Mississippi Braves, who completed the first half of the Southern League season with a 6-3 win against Montgomery at Trustmark Park. The M-Braves will send seven players to the SL All-Star Game in Pensacola on Tuesday.
6 – Strikeouts in five scoreless innings by USM’s Nick Sandlin in his Cape Cod League debut for Hyannis.

12 Jun

summer stock

A boatload of players from the state’s Big 3 colleges appear on the preseason rosters for the Cape Cod League, the summer circuit that starts play on Wednesday. There are seven on the Hyannis roster, though one of those is Ole Miss’ Dallas Woolfolk, who is also on the roster for Team USA’s Collegiate National Team. The others are Mississippi State’s Jake Mangum (an MLB draft-eligible sophomore), Hunter Stovall and Trystan Barlow, Ole Miss’ Ryan Olenek and Connor Green, and Southern Miss’ Nick Sandlin. Other UM players on Cape rosters include James McArthur and Will Ethridge (Falmouth), Cooper Johnson and Ryan Rolison (Orleans), Thomas Dillard (Cotuit) and Andy Pagnozzi (Brewster). State’s Luke Alexander is also listed with Cotuit. Rosters will change as the season unfolds. … State’s Konnor Pilkington is also on the Team USA roster and USM’s Matt Wallner was invited to training camp in Cary, N.C. The team’s first game is slated for June 22. … Play is under way in the Cotton States League, the six-team, wood-bat circuit based in New Albany. Tucker Childers, a Northeast Mississippi Community College alum from Ripley, is off to a sizzling start for Hill Country: 7-for-10, two homers, seven RBIs in three games. … Joe Gray, a rising senior at Hattiesburg High, participated in a major tournament in Arizona over the weekend with his summer club, the EvoShield Canes National 18 Team. EvoShield Canes coach Jeff Petty told Baseball America Gray is “a very advanced player for his age. I feel he could settle in and play in professional baseball right now. With his athleticism I feel he’s a five-tool player. He’s got everything going for him.”

29 Aug

campus notes

With college classes having begun, it’s time for those “what I did on my summer vacation” stories. Mississippi State’s Konnor Pilkington and Jake Mangum showed out in the Cape Cod League, earning recognition from Baseball America as top 30 prospects from the prestigious summer circuit. Pilkington, a left-hander from Hurley and East Central High, was 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA in seven games for Brewster. He also made the All-CCBL team, as chosen by the league. At State this past season, he was 3-1, 2.08 in 14 appearances. Mangum, a Jackson Prep product, hit .300 with nine RBIs and 11 steals in 35 games for Bourne. The Ferriss Trophy winner batted .408 for the Bulldogs as a freshman last spring. … Of the Ole Miss players who took part in summer league ball, none has more to boast about than Parker Ciracci, another Jackson Prep product who redshirted at UM last spring. Right-hander Ciracci posted an 0.78 ERA, five wins and seven saves in 21 games in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Fellow Rebel D.J. Miller had a fun time, too, batting .286 with 32 runs and 10 steals in the Cal Ripken League. UM’s Kyle Watson, a DeSoto Central alum, swiped 21 bags in the Alaska League. … Southern Miss’ Mason Irby, a transfer from juco national champ Jones County Junior College, played on the NJCAA National Team that went 3-1 in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. Golden Eagles J.C. Keys and Matthew Guidry were Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game picks. Guidry finished at .331 with 14 RBIs and 24 runs in 40 games for Acadiana, and Keys put up a 4.13 ERA in 13 games for the same club. … Mississippi College’s Hunter Lacefield, a lefty transfer from Northwest CC, went 4-1 with a 0.76 ERA for the North Delta Dealers, the best team in the New Albany-based Cotton States League this summer. … Alcorn State has a new pitching coach, David Duncan, a former Florida A&M pitcher who has some pro experience. The Braves had a staff ERA of 8.03 in 2016, so Duncan has some work to do. … New head coaches are settling in at jucos Pearl River and Mississippi Delta. Michael Avalon left Delta to replace Josh Hoffpauir at PRCC, and longtime Hinds assistant Dan Rives filled the vacancy at Delta, where he played.