31 Jan

on college scene

Tougaloo College lifted the lid on the state’s college season last weekend, losing a pair of games at Loyola of New Orleans. Next up we’ve got NAIA members William Carey University and Blue Mountain College, who are hosting games on Friday. Coach Bobby Halford is in his 35th season at Carey, which finished 24-26 (15-11 SSAC) in 2019 after a sluggish start. The Crusaders, who’ll rely a lot on newcomers in 2020, welcome back senior Sloan Dieter, who batted .315 with eight homers and posted a 6-2, 5.94 ledger on the mound. Also back is shortstop Patrick Lee, a former Pascagoula High star who hit .238 with 10 steals as a freshman. At Blue Mountain, Curt Fowler’s Toppers went 26-25-1 (15-11 SSAC) and return top hitter Deontaeu Rieves (.315) from Columbus and lefty Eli Jackson from New Albany. Ole Miss transfer Cooper Cox should be a strong addition to the pitching staff. P.S. NCAA Division II schools Delta State and Mississippi College open at home with doubleheaders on Saturday, the Statesmen starting the Rodney Batts era against East Central (Okla.) University and the Choctaws meeting Harding University. … Northeast Mississippi Community College will hold a dedication ceremony for its new “Field of Dreams” baseball/softball complex on Saturday in Booneville. The project took about 16 months and cost more than $8 million, per a school release. Both fields have an artificial playing surface and a video board. The Tigers’ first home game is Feb. 14. … The SWAC-MEAC Challenge, a three-day, six-team event that has Jackson State and Alcorn State in the field, is slated for Jackson’s Smith-Wills Stadium from Feb. 21-23, the Vicksburg Post reported this week. Some schools’ schedules have listed this event for Trustmark Park in Pearl. Southern University, North Carolina A&T, Florida A&M and Western Illinois are listed as participants. … Louisiana Tech will play three C-USA series at Smith-Wills this season while repairs are being made to its Ruston home field, damaged by a tornado last year. The Bulldogs will meet Middle Tennessee State (March 13-15), Rice (April 9-11) and Old Dominion (April 24-26) at 45-year-old Smith-Wills, which is still used by Division III Belhaven University for its home games. BU’s first home game is Feb. 14.

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