26 Apr

collision course

If momentum means anything, Mississippi College might have an edge against Delta State when the NCAA Division II rivals hook up in Cleveland this weekend (today-Saturday). The Choctaws (20-22, 10-17 Gulf South) are coming off a walk-off win — courtesy of a Caleb Reese home run — and have won four of their last six. Delta State (25-20, 16-11) has lost five in a row and six of seven, though the Statesmen have clinched a berth in the GSC Tournament while MC is on the outside looking in. MC has some power bats — Reese and J.T. Vance have 14 homers each and Wesley Sides has 12 — and some speed — 80 steals, 15 by Cole Drake — but has been dragged down by its pitching. The staff ERA is 6.46 and no pitcher has more than three wins. Cooper Gadman is 3-1 with a 3.92, and reliever Michael Sutton has a 3.86 and two saves. Dylan Coleman has been the offensive bell cow for DSU, batting .364 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs. Brett Burrell is at .346. No. 1 starter Drake Fontenot is 6-3 despite a 5.66 ERA, while reliever Josh Hill is 4-0 with six saves and a 3.79. If history means anything, DSU might be favored to take the three-game series at Ferriss Field. The Statesmen lead all-time 50-14 according to DSU records, 46-14 per MC’s. Of course, it’ll probably come down to which pitching staff can get the clutch outs. P.S. In the GCAC Tournament at Jackson’s Smith-Wills Stadium, Rust beat top-seeded Wiley (Texas) on Thursday and is 2-0 heading into a winners bracket game today against Talladega (Ala.) at 5:30 p.m. Tougaloo stayed alive Thursday by beating Oakwood (Ala.) and meets Wiley in an elimination game today at 2 p.m.

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