26 May

it’s crunch time

With a win today, Jackson State will be back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. The Tigers (36-19) play old rival Grambling State in Atlanta for the SWAC Tournament championship. The winner — and only the winner — will get an NCAA berth. JSU has been a consistent winner under coach Omar Johnson, but getting into an NCAA regional out of a one-bid league is a tough task. The Tigers have only done it three times, twice under Johnson. The 4-seed out of the East Division this year, they got to the brink with a 4-2 victory against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. Lenny Montesano went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, and Je-andrick Lourens and three relievers combined on a six-hitter. Do the Tigers have any pitching left for the title game? … Southern Miss goes for its second straight Sun Belt Tournament title today against Georgia Southern at Montgomery, Ala. The Golden Eagles advanced with a weather-interrupted, come-from-behind 7-5 win Saturday over Appalachian State. Nick Monistere homered and Slade Wilks had two more hits and two RBIs as USM won the marathon contest. Colby Allen got the last four outs for his seventh save. The Eagles, under first-year coach Christian Ostrander, are 40-18, having reached 40 wins for the eighth straight year. … William Carey University cruised into the NAIA World Series with an 11-game win streak but went 2-and-out in Lewiston, Idaho, falling to Cumberlands (Ky.) 6-4 in an elimination game on Saturday. Carey ends the season with a 37-16 record. … East Central Community College got off to a sensational start this season, winning its first 31 games, and will have a shot at a fantastic finish starting today in the NJCAA Division II World Series at Enid, Okla. The Warriors (51-7) lost in the Region 23 Tournament but received an at-large bid to the World Series and are seeded third. Led by All-MACCC outfielder Mo Little (.354, 11 homers, 73 RBIs) and MACCC pitcher of the year Luke Cooley (8-1, 2.20 ERA, 110 strikeouts), the Warriors will play Monday against the winner of the delayed Montgomery (Md.)-Madison (Wisc.) first-round game. … Four MHSAA champions were crowned on Saturday at Trustmark Park in Pearl: Vancleave in Class 5A, Sumrall in 4A, St. Andrew’s in 2A and Taylorsville in 1A. P.S. Landon Harper, former Southern Miss pitcher from Meridian, was promoted to the Double-A Mississippi Braves on Saturday. He joins Saucier native and Mississippi Gulf Coast CC alum Brandon Parker, a current M-Braves outfielder, on the list of Mississippians to suit up for the Pearl-based club. Others: Zack Bird, Brent Leach, Van Pope, Jay Powell, Austin Riley, Michael Rosamond and John Thomson.

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