Lot of good stuff happened on Tuesday: Zack Shannon was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Gulf South Conference Tournament after sparking Delta State to a 6-3 win over West Alabama in Cleveland for the program’s 14th conference tourney title. Shannon, a junior college transfer, belted a three-run home run – his 18th — in the third inning to get the ball rolling for DSU, which clinched a berth in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. … Atlanta prospect Ronald Acuna hit the first pitch he saw in Double-A out of the park en route to a 3-for-4, three-RBI night as the Mississippi Braves whipped Mobile 9-1 at Trustmark Park. Fellow 19-year-old Kolby Allard (3-1) got the win. … Seth Smith, the former Ole Miss star, went 2-for-4 with his third homer of the year to help Baltimore beat Washington 5-4 in 12 innings for its sixth straight victory. Mississippi State product Buck Showalter’s Orioles have MLB’s best record at 22-10. … Taylorsville High alum Billy Hamilton had two hits, two RBIs and a run as Cincinnati cooled off the New York Yankees 5-3. Hamilton has 15 hits, 14 runs, 10 RBIs and nine steals over his last 10 games while boosting his average some 40 points to .252. … Ex-State standout Tyler Moore was added to Miami’s big league roster, recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. Moore, who didn’t play Tuesday, was 4-for-11 in an earlier stint with the Marlins. … There were a couple of downers: Ole Miss product Drew Pomeranz got lit up in Boston’s 11-7 loss at Milwaukee. He gave up six runs in four innings and fell to 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA on the season. … Ex-State star Hunter Renfroe took an 0-for-3 for San Diego in an 11-0 loss to Texas and saw his average drop to .200. He hasn’t homered since April 26, a span of 10 games. P.S. Nice feature on State slugger Brent Rooker posted today on Baseball America’s web site. The story suggests that Rooker, a 22-year-old senior, has played his way into consideration as a first-day pick in the MLB draft.
You like numbers? Monday’s Valdosta State-Delta State game in the Gulf South Conference Tournament at Cleveland produced some numbers. To wit:
36 – Runs. DSU won 19-17.
13 – Deficit overcome by the Statesmen.
13 – Runs scored in the fourth inning by Valdosta, which hit two grand slams.
38 – Combined hits. There were also 13 walks and two hit batsmen.
366 – Pitches thrown, by nine different pitchers.
6 – Home runs by DSU, a tournament record. Emil Ellis hit two, and Zack Shannon, Clay Casey, Justin Nussbaum and Jacob Burney hit the others.
3 – Homers by the Statesmen in a nine-run fifth inning.
17 – Homers for the year for Shannon and Casey.
6 – RBIs by Ellis. Nussbaum picked up four.
45 – Consecutive game on-base streak for Shannon.
1 – Saves on the year for Shannon, who got the last three outs.
3:46 – Time of game.
40 – Wins for DSU.
13 – Number of 40-win seasons in 21 years for DSU coach Mike Kinnison.
13 – GSC championships for the Statesmen, who’ll play West Alabama with another on the line today at Ferriss Field.
Tough call on the hottest spot this weekend. You could go with Hattiesburg, where Southern Miss and Florida Atlantic will face off for first place in Conference USA. Or you could go with College Station, Texas, where SEC championship contenders Mississippi State and Texas A&M are hooking up; the Aggies won Game 1 9-2 on Thursday. Of course, in Gainesville, Fla., you’ve got Ole Miss, battling for an NCAA regional spot, taking on Florida, also still in the SEC title conversation. Meanwhile, at Braddy Field in Jackson, Jackson State looks to secure first place in the SWAC East when it meets Alabama A&M. Cast a glance, too, at Montgomery, Ala., where William Carey plays Faulkner today in a winner’s bracket game in the SSAC Tournament. The loser will play Blue Mountain later today in an elimination game; the Toppers stayed alive on Thursday by whipping Martin Methodist 11-1. Carey already has earned an NAIA regional host bid. But hold on. Even with all of this other stuff going on, Cleveland wins. The Gulf South Conference Tournament begins Saturday at Ferriss Field with both top seed Delta State and seventh-seeded Mississippi College in action in separate four-team pools. The only way the two could meet again is in the championship game on Tuesday. DSU has won 13 tournament titles and, considering how the Statesmen dominated the regular season, is the odds-on favorite to win again. MC, officially back in the NCAA Division II GSC this season after 20-plus years, qualified for the tournament with an impressive late surge that included a win over Delta State last week. Second-year coach Jeremy Haworth’s team went 20-25 overall. MC’s last GSC Tournament appearance came in 1996, when the Choctaws went 2-and-out. The team’s best result came in 1984, when it won the South Division Tournament and lost to North Alabama in the championship series. P.S. Awards have been rolling in, including GSC player and coach of the year honors for DSU’s Zack Shannon and Mike Kinnison; SSAC player of the year for Carey’s James Land; and a national player of the week award for MC’s Blaine Crim. … The five finalists for the Ferriss Trophy will be named on Sunday, May 14. The announcement ceremony, featuring former Ole Miss star and big leaguer Don Kessinger, is May 22.