Hunter Renfroe, the ex-Mississippi State standout, hit a pair of home runs in a game for Double-A San Antonio on Sunday. San Diego’s 2013 first-round pick, Renfroe is batting .343 over his last 10 games and is at .244 with five homers and 26 RBIs on the season. This is his first full year in the Texas League. … JaCoby Jones, the former Richton High star, had a two-run triple in Saturday’s Florida State League All-Star Game. The Pittsburgh shortstop prospect is in his first full year at high Class A Bradenton. … Jacob Lindgren’s season may be over. The State product, who made his big league debut for the New York Yankees this season, is having elbow surgery and is expected to be down about 12 weeks. The left-hander had a 5.14 ERA in seven MLB innings. … Ole Miss alum Lance Lynn is slated to come off the DL and start Thursday for St. Louis at Miami. Lynn, out two weeks with a forearm strain, is 4-4 with a 3.07 ERA. … The Mississippi Braves lost 12 of their last 15 to finish 33-35 in the first half of the Southern League season. Following the SL All-Star break, the M-Braves begin the second half at home on Thursday. … Ole Miss’ Errol Robinson is among the Cape Cod League batting leaders with a .322 average over nine games; he has scored 10 runs and stolen five bags. His Hyannis team is 8-3. Robinson hit .297 as a sophomore for the Rebels this year. … Blue Mountain College’s Dylan Earnest threw a five-hitter with six strikeouts to lead the Tupelo Thunder to a 4-1 win over the Tallahatchie Rascals on Sunday in Cotton States League play. Tupelo is 5-3, a half-game back of the Tippa Tribe (6-3) in the Deep South Division of the New Albany-based college summer circuit. The Golden Triangle Jets (6-4) lead the Rascals (5-3) in the Delta Division. … Zach Penprase, the onetime Mississippi Valley State star, is now playing his eighth season for Fargo-Moorhead in the independent American Association and hitting .292. Shortstop Penprase, 30, had a brief fling in affiliated ball; he was drafted by Philadelphia in 2006.
While the focus of the sports world this weekend will be elsewhere — in places like Las Vegas, Louisville, Ky., Chicago and Talledega, Ala. — there will be some relatively significant stuff going on in Jackson and Lorman, specifically at Braddy Field and Rat McGowan Stadium. Jackson State, third in the SWAC East with a 14-7 mark, hosts first-place Alabama State (16-5) in the final regular season conference series. The Tigers, led by Melvin Rodriguez (.448, 68 RBIs) could steal the crown (with some help) in this three-game set. JSU’s pitching hasn’t been so great (6.36 ERA), but the club has found compensation in a .310 team batting average. Meanwhile, Mississippi Valley State will visit Alcorn State in a battle for fourth place in the East Division — and a SWAC Tournament berth. Neither the Delta Devils (9.21) nor the Braves (8.82) scare you much with their arms, but they trot out some hitters of note. Valley’s Brady McBride is batting .352, and Alcorn’s Scotty Peavey is at .345. The Braves’ Collin Carroll has bashed 10 homers, tied for the SWAC lead with JSU’s Jesus Santana. P.S. William Carey was bounced from the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday and joins Belhaven, which went 2-and-out, on the sidelines. The Crusaders are 30-23 and the Blazers 33-25, but neither is going to get an NAIA postseason bid.
Starkville’s Dudy Noble Field is a hot spot in the state this weekend — weather permitting, as always — with Mississippi State hosting SEC foe Florida as part of Super Bulldog Weekend. At Braddy Field in Jackson, Jackson State faces a SWAC showdown with Alabama A&M. Down in Hattiesburg at Taylor Park, Southern Miss has a big C-USA series against Florida Atlantic. Up in Cleveland, Ferriss Field will fill up for Delta State’s Gulf South Conference battle with Shorter. Mississippi Valley State will host Belhaven in Itta Bena today and then travel to Jackson’s Smith-Wills Stadium on Saturday for a twinbill against the Blazers. And on Sunday at Smith-Wills, perhaps the most compelling matchup of the weekend will see NJCAA Division II No. 1-ranked Hinds Community College take on No. 16 Northwest Mississippi CC. The doubleheader begins at 2 p.m. Hinds dropped a pair to Southwest at Smith-Wills on Thursday, falling into a tie atop the MACJC standings with Northwest at 16-4. Hinds (29-4 overall) has gotten prolific production from Jonathan Washam (.402 entering the Southwest set), Madison’s Matt Jones (.394, 34 runs), Cleveland’s Marshall Boggs (.349) and Clinton’s Chase Lunceford (.353, five home runs). Randy Bell (7-0, 2.36 ERA) of Woodville and Houston Case (6-1) of Brookhaven are the top winners on the mound for the Eagles, and Madison’s Austin Sanders has nine saves. Northwest (25-8) has won 12 straight games, including a sweep of Northeast on Tuesday in which the Rangers scored 21 runs on 29 hits. Clay Casey, the former DeSoto Central star, has swung a mighty bat, with a .358 average, eight homers, 28 RBIs and 30 runs. Ole Miss transfer Dalton Dulin leads the Rangers with a .382 average and has a school-record 36 stolen bases. Coldwater’s LeeMarcus Boyd is batting .320 with 30 runs. Myrtle’s Colt Smith is Northwest’s ace, having posted a 6-0 record with a 0.54 ERA, and Tupelo’s J.G. Lipscomb is 4-1, 1.48.
Delta State is moving in the right direction heading into a Gulf South Conference series against West Georgia this weekend in Cleveland. The Statesmen have won six of eight to climb to 7-10 overall. They are 6-5 in the GSC after taking two of three from NCAA Division II No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville last weekend. Jacob Swinney (8-for-13, five RBIs) and Jonathan Moody (10-strikeout complete game) were named GSC players of the week after their performance in the UAH series. Swinney, a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College transfer out of St. Martin, is hitting .370, second on the club to Brandon Cummins (.382). … Also riding a wave into the weekend is William Carey, which took two of three games from NAIA No. 2 Faulkner at Montgomery, Ala., last weekend. The Crusaders, who started slow this season, are 17-15 and 9-6 in the Southern States Athletic Conference with Blue Mountain coming to Hattiesburg for a three-game league series. In the rubber game of the Faulkner series — a 9-5 win against Eagles ace Kurt Lipscomb — Tyler Richardson scored four runs and Alex Buechler and Michael Wells drove in three apiece. Even bigger: Larson Barkum delivered seven strong innings in relief to get the win. … Melvin Rodriguez, a senior from Puerto Rico, has been a driving force for Jackson State, which has won three straight to move to 15-8. Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with three RBIs in a win over Southern University at Braddy Field on Tuesday night. For the year, the left-handed hitting second baseman is batting .444 with nine doubles, a homer and 30 RBIs. … Millsaps, 15-4 and on a seven-game win streak, hosts Southern Athletic Association rival Centre this weekend. … Either Alcorn State or Mississippi Valley State, both struggling, will get a lift when the rivals play a SWAC series in Itta Bena this weekend. The Braves, 7-19 and 2-6 in the league, took a 10-game losing streak into a Wednesday twinbill with Tougaloo, which the Braves swept. The losing skid started with 13-0 and 21-0 losses at Oklahoma State in early March. The Delta Devils, under first-year coach Aaron Stevens, are 4-14-1, 1-7 with six consecutive losses, including a couple to JSU. P.S. The outcome was predictable when East Mississippi CC met Coahoma on Wednesday in Scooba — the first-place Lions took two from the last-place Tigers — but there is a wow factor in the details. EMCC, now 10-0 in the MACJC, won by scores of 31-2 and 13-2. The Lions scored 14 runs in the first inning of the first game. Drew Standland drove in six runs in the opener, and Kyle Liberto and David Pimentel picked up seven RBIs apiece on the day. Coahoma dropped to 1-19, 1-9.
1 — Career wins for Aaron Stevens, the new Mississippi Valley State coach who notched his first on Saturday, an 8-7 defeat of Illinois-Chicago in the Delta Devils’ second game of the year.
2 — Career wins for Earl Sanders, the new Tougaloo coach whose Bulldogs swept Rust on Friday after dropping their first seven games.
2 — Wins shy of 1,000 career for William Carey coach Bobby Halford, whose Crusaders have won six straight after an 0-5 start. They play a doubleheader today against Saint Joseph in Hattiesburg.
3 — Hits in each of Southern Miss’ first three games, all wins, by Dylan Burdeaux, who is batting .692.
4 — RBIs apiece by Jackson State’s Tilur Smith, Dylan Parker and Jovany Felipe in the Tigers’ 20-10 win over UT-Martin on Saturday.
5 — RBIs apiece by Millsaps’ William Chenowith and Isaac Glenn in a 16-3 victory over Schreiner on Saturday.
7 — Home runs by Belhaven hitters in 12 games, matching the Blazers’ total from all of 2014.
8 — Strikeouts, in six innings of work, by Ole Miss’ Brady Bramlett, in a 16-2, series-clinching victory over William and Mary on Saturday.
9 — Hits in four games, all wins, by Mississippi State’s Seth Heck, who is batting .563.
12 — Hitting streak for Belhaven’s Adam Kowalczyk, a junior transfer from Delaware Tech.
14 — Runs, in eight games, scored by Mississippi College’s Colton Johnson, a freshman from West Jones High.
Coming this weekend: the battle at the bottom in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Mississippi Valley State, 0-18 and 0-7 in the league, visits Alcorn State, 1-19 and 1-5, for a pair of games Saturday and a solo Sunday at Rat McGowan Stadium in Lorman. Who knows what might happen? Valley coach Doug Shanks and Alcorn’s Barret Rey have had success with their programs in the recent past, but things have gone off the rails in 2014. Valley is hitting .197 (last in the league) and has an 8.24 ERA (ninth of 10) and a .938 fielding percentage (also ninth) with 41 errors. Alcorn is hitting .242 (tied for seventh) but is averaging just three runs a game with an ERA of 8.98 (last) and a fielding percentage of .932 (last) with 50 errors. The winner of this series will feel a little better about itself. Not sure what the loser might feel … . P.S. Also scuffling this year is Blue Mountain, 2-18 and 1-14 in its first year in the Southern States Athletic Conference. Last weekend, the Toppers lost a home series to William Carey by the scores of 12-2, 7-1 and 11-1.
Mississippi Valley State, still winless through 14 games, was no-hit by Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. It was the Crimson Tide’s first nine-inning no-hitter since 1942. … Ross Mitchell, Mississippi State’s crafty lefty, suffered the first loss of his college career on Saturday as the Bulldogs fell to UC-Santa Barbara 7-6 in the Hi Corbett Classic in Tucson, Ariz. Mitchell had won his first 18 decisions. The Bulldogs are 0-3 in the desert tournament (11-7 overall) and face Arizona today. … Belhaven University won its 20th game on Saturday. The Blazers (20-4) swept Blue Mountain in a Friday-Saturday series at Smith-Wills Stadium and are now 7-2 in the Southern States Athletic Conference. BMC, in its first year in the tough NAIA league, fell to 2-14, 1-11. The Blazers have stolen 83 bags, led by Reagan Rutledge with 24, Paul Pickerrell with 15 (in 15 attempts) and Emilio DeSilva with 14. … Mississippi College took two of three from East Texas Baptist in Clinton this weekend to improve to 4-8 overall and 4-5 in the American Southwest Conference. Robbie Jernigan and Colton Mears combined for five RBIs in the Choctaws’ 7-2 win in Saturday’s rubber game. … Millsaps, behind a complete-game effort from Keith Shumaker in Game 2, split a twinbill at Birmingham-Southern on Saturday in its first Southern Athletic Association games of the season. The Majors (9-6) and the Panthers (10-2) play their rubber game today.