still on top
Two Mississippi colleges won national championships in 2022, and one of them will start the new year where it finished the old. Pearl River Community College, defending NJCAA Division II champ, is ranked No. 1 in Collegiate Baseball Magazine’s preseason poll. The Wildcats went 45-11 in claiming the program’s first national crown, joining NCAA Division I champ Ole Miss in that regard. Star hitters Tate Parker and D.K. Donaldson have moved on from Poplarville, but the Wildcats’ cupboard remains well-stocked. “We are extremely talented and expect to have more depth on the mound than last year,” PRCC coach Michael Avalon told CB. Among the Wildcats’ four returning regulars are third baseman Alex Perry, who hit .385 with 17 homers and 22 stolen bases, and shortstop Gabe Broadus, a Southern Miss commit who batted .382 with 39 bags. Seven pitchers also return. … Hinds CC is ranked 12th in CB’s poll, with Jones College checking in at No. 17 and Meridian CC at No. 20. LSU-Eunice, a traditional Region 23 powerhouse, is ranked third. … USM, 47-19 and a Super Regional participant last year, is ranked 18th by CB in its D-I poll, followed by Mississippi State at No. 22 and Ole Miss at No. 24. The Golden Eagles are projected to win the Sun Belt in their first year in the league. MSU and UM are pegged fourth and fifth in the SEC West. In the SWAC, Jackson State is slotted fourth in the East Division with Mississippi Valley State sixth (last). Alcorn State is picked to finish sixth in the West.