05 Mar

have a day

There are compelling matchups everywhere you look today in the Magnolia State. (Here’s hoping the weather cooperates.) At Pearl’s Trustmark Park, Southern Miss and Mississippi State renew their neutral-site rivalry. At Twenty Field in Jackson, Millsaps hosts Belhaven in the opener of the Maloney Trophy Series. At Braddy Field in Jackson, Jackson State hosts Rust in a doubleheader. And at Swayze Field in Oxford, Ole Miss will play Memphis, which is coached by a Mississippi native and suits up several others. (For the record: On Wednesday, at Sanders Field in Jackson, Tougaloo will host Blue Mountain Christian.) Both USM and State have 8-4 records, and they have split their last 10 meetings. There will be a huge and vocal crowd at the TeePee for that clash, a smaller but no less fired-up gathering at Twenty Field, where NCAA Division III rivals Millsaps (10-4) and BU (7-6) meet for the first of three games. (A Wil Wood-Brett Sanchez pitching matchup might be too much to hope for.) Jackson State (9-3) beat NAIA member Rust 18-1 and 12-1 in 2023. Perhaps the Bearcats (3-15) can put up more of a fight this time. In Oxford, Ole Miss takes an 8-5 record into its game with familiar foe Memphis (7-6), which is now coached by Picayune native Matt Riser. The Tigers’ director of pitching development is Oxford native Chase Kessinger, Keith’s son, Don’s grandson, Grae’s cousin. P.S. Former Madison Central High star Braden Montgomery, now at Texas A&M, aspires to be “the best baseball player ever,” he said in a Monday interview on MLB Network’s Hot Stove. The switch-hitting outfielder, on the Golden Spikes Award watch list, is batting .410 with five homers and 21 RBIs for the Aggies, 11-0 heading into a showdown tonight at archrival Texas. “The most important part is we’re winning,” Montgomery said.

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