20 Mar

taking it all in

Ole Miss took two of three from Vanderbilt. Jackson State took two of three from Alcorn State. Delta State and William Carey scored sweeps, and Mississippi Valley State, Mississippi College and Belhaven all won conference series on the road. Oh yeah, and Jones County Junior College remained unbeaten. But as the dust settles on an eventful weekend in college baseball, Southern Miss emerges as the team of the moment. The Golden Eagles swept Louisiana Tech at Ruston, La., in their C-USA opening series. Tech, loaded with former Hinds Community College stars, was 15-2 entering the weekend and ranked in some polls. Each game was a battle: 5-2, 13-9, 8-5. The Eagles got clutch pitching from Kirk McCarty and Matt Wallner in Game 1 and from Nick Sandlin in Game 3. They blasted seven homers all told – two by Taylor Braley – in Games 2 and 3. USM is now 16-4 and will take a seven-game win streak into Tuesday’s game against Mississippi State at Trustmark Park in Pearl. MSU (12-9) was one of the few state teams to suffer a bad weekend, scoring just six runs while dropping three straight at Arkansas to start SEC play. … Ole Miss, 14-6 and up to No. 11 in Baseball America’s new poll, won a wild rubber match with Vandy 10-8 on Sunday in Oxford as Dallas Woolfolk tossed two scoreless innings late and Chase Cockrell delivered a go-ahead double in the eighth. C.J. Newsome drove in four runs and Jose Tirado pitched a sterling 4 1/3 innings of relief as JSU (12-9, 6-3 SWAC) beat Alcorn 11-6 in Sunday’s series clincher at Braddy Field. Zack Shannon, batting .440 with five homers and 33 RBIs, knocked in eight runs as DSU (18-7, 10-5 Gulf South) rolled past Alabama-Huntsville. William Carey, 22-5 and ranked 12th in NAIA, scored 49 runs in a sweep of outmanned Brewton-Parker. MC (6-18, 4-10) won its second straight GSC series, taking the rubber match from Christian Brothers 6-5 on Sunday as Will Elliott and Hunter Austin drove in two runs apiece. Landon Boyd worked seven shutout innings in relief on Saturday to lift Belhaven past McMurry and give the Blazers an American Southwest Conference series win. BU (12-8) will play Millsaps on Tuesday at Smith-Wills Stadium for the Maloney Trophy. The Majors are 9-12 and coming off a Southern Athletic Association series loss at Rhodes. Finally, Jones County JC beat East Mississippi 8-5 and 3-1 on Saturday in Scooba to improve to 20-0, 2-0 MACJC. The Bobcats are ranked No. 1 in NJCAA Division II.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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