In a showdown of in-state rivals on foreign soil, William Carey University beat Blue Mountain College 12-8 Thursday in a winners bracket game of the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament. Carey (35-15), the defending tourney champion, now gets a day off in the double-elimination event at Columbus, Ga., while BMC (28-25) faces Loyola-New Orleans for the right to play Carey again on Saturday. BMC upset 2-seed Loyola in the first round. Wiley Cleland drove in three runs and Branson Sharpley and Jordan Szush hit home runs to power Carey on Thursday. … Game 1 winners in the MACCC best-of-3 series were East Mississippi, Hinds, Jones College and Meridian. Jones was the only road team to win, beating Northeast in Booneville. The Game 2’s are set for today. The four series winners advance to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament starting May 16 in Poplarville. … Rust College received one of the four bids to the NAIA bracket of the Black College World Series. The Bearcats (16-13) will play Edward Waters on May 11 in their double-elimination pod. The pod winner will meet the Division II bracket champ in a title game. P.S. Delta State and Belhaven open today in their respective conference tournaments, with the Statesmen meeting Shorter in Oxford, Ala., in the Gulf South and the Blazers taking on Hardin-Simmons in Richardson, Texas, in the American Southwest.
Ready for some live baseball? Head for Blue Mountain on Jan. 30. The much-anticipated 2021 college season will commence in the Magnolia State two weeks from today, when Blue Mountain College hosts Rust College in a twinbill at the BMC SportsPlex. The Toppers are slated to play their first 19 games at home. BMC went 10-15 before play was abruptly halted in 2020, the NAIA program’s 11th season. … NCAA Division II members Mississippi College and Delta State are scheduled to open Feb. 6, as is NAIA Tougaloo. NAIA William Carey opens Feb. 12. Belhaven University’s schedule lists an invitational tournament, co-hosted with fellow NCAA Division III member Millsaps College, for Smith-Wills Stadium between Feb. 12-21. The NCAA Division I start date is Feb. 19, though the Big 3’s schedules have not been posted. Jackson State’s schedule lists the Tigers’ first game as Feb. 23 at Mississippi State.
Outstanding pitching and some hot hitting from Chris Swanberg powered the DeSoto Xplorers to the Cotton States League championship in New Albany over the weekend. The Xplorers beat the HillCountry Generals 10-3 on Sunday in the title game of the college summer league, which featured 10 teams this year. Swanberg, who plays at Memphis, went 4-for-4 in the final, driving in two runs and scoring two. Zack Coon, a Blue Mountain College player, drove in three runs. Blue Mountain alums Adam Dill and Jackson Vance combined on a three-hitter for the Xplorers. In their first-round game, the Xplorers got a four-hit shutout and 14 strikeouts from Sam McMillin, and Alabama State product Austin King tossed a three-hit shutout with 13 K’s in their semifinal win. HillCountry beat the top-seeded North Delta Dealers in the semis as Eli Jackson, another Blue Mountain alum, homered and drove in five runs. … Team McCarty, managed by former Southern Miss and current pro pitcher Kirk McCarty, won the inaugural Deep South Collegiate League tournament over the weekend.