20 May

honor society

Dakota Jordan, who has had a bunch of good days swinging the bat for Mississippi State this season, had a good day Monday without ever touching one. The former Jackson Academy star from Canton won the state’s Ferriss Trophy, was named one of the 25 semifinalists for the national Golden Spikes Award and also earned second-team All-SEC recognition. Jordan is batting .363 with 17 home runs, 63 RBIs and 51 runs through 55 games for the nationally ranked Bulldogs, who play Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament at Hoover, Ala., on Tuesday night. … MSU shortstop David Mershon and pitcher Khal Stephen made first-team All-SEC, and Ole Miss outfielder Andrew Fischer was a second-team pick. … Former Madison Central High standout Braden Montgomery, now at Texas A&M, was named first-team All-SEC and also a Golden Spikes semifinalist. … Southern Miss pitcher Billy Oldham and DH Slade Wilks earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors, and pitcher Niko Mazza, shortstop Ozzie Pratt and outfielder Dalton McIntyre — a Ferriss finalist — were pegged on the second team. Banks Tolley, an Ole Miss transfer from Madison, was named the Sun Belt’s newcomer of the year and ex-Pearl River Community College star Luke Lyon, now at Troy, was a second-team All-SBC pick. … Pearl River CC’s Michael Avalon was named the MACCC coach of the year and the Wildcats’ Hollis Porter, an MSU transfer, earned player of the year honors. PRCC won the regular season title in the conference. … In the MHSAA State Championships that begin Tuesday at Pearl’s Trustmark Park, two of the seven classification Mr. Baseball winners will take part: Ty Long of Class 4A Ripley and Landon Harmon of 2A East Union. Long is a USM signee, Harmon an MSU commit. Tupelo’s Lake Reed was the 7A winner, West Jones’ Camden Clark in 6A, South Jones’ Cole Richardson in 5A, Mooreville’s Mason McMillin in 3A and Pine Grove’s Gehrig Shinall in 1A.

17 May

catching up

LSU-Eunice, a seven-time national champion, completed a 4-0 run through the NJCAA Division II Region 23 Tournament by beating Jones College 7-2 Friday in the title game at Poplarville. The third-ranked Bengals get an automatic bid to the D-II World Series in Enid, Okla. There are two at-large bids available in the 12-team field, leaving the door open for an MACCC team to get a call. East Central Community College is 51-7 and ranked No. 1 in the most recent D-II poll; Pearl River is 49-10 and ranked second; and Jones is 41-16 and ranked eighth. Jones eliminated ECCC in the regional on Thursday, and LSU-E put out Pearl River. … Drake Fontenot, Noah Magee and Braiden Jones combined on a six-hitter and Blayke Dendy and Brendan McCauley hit home runs as Delta State stayed alive in the NCAA D-II South Region tourney with an 8-0 win over host St. Leo (Fla.). The Statesmen (33-23) will be back at it on Saturday.

14 May

kudos, here and there

Mike Grzanich, a former Jackson Generals pitcher, was named the MACCC’s softball coach of the year today after leading Hinds Community College to a 32-16 finish in 2024. By some cosmic coincidence, it was on May 14, 1998, that Grzanich, a hard-throwing right-hander, made his one and only MLB appearance, allowing two runs in an inning of work for Houston against Pittsburgh. Grzanich posted 17 wins and 30 saves over three seasons with the Double-A Generals, winning a Texas League title in 1996. He was the pitching coach for Hinds CC for three years before taking the softball reins in 2009. … Hurston Waldrep, former Southern Miss and current Mississippi Braves pitcher, has been ranked No. 75 among MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 minor league prospects, the only state college alum to make the chart. A first-round pick by Atlanta out of Florida last summer, Waldrep is slated to start tonight for the M-Braves against Biloxi at Trustmark Park in Pearl. He is 1-3 with a 3.90 ERA in six starts this year. … Ex-Mississippi State star Dakota Hudson notched his first win of the season on Monday with Colorado, which beat San Diego at Petco Park for its fifth straight victory. He allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Hudson, a free agent pickup this past off-season, is 1-6 with a 6.13 ERA in six starts. He was 38-20 with a sub-4.00 during his time with St. Louis. … Current MSU pitcher Nate Dohm is slated to return to the mound for just the second time since early March when the Bulldogs meet North Alabama tonight in Starkville. He was expected to be a key piece for State this season, but arm issues have limited the right-hander to five appearances (1.48 ERA). A healthy comeback could be a big boost during the postseason.

04 May

big time

Any win is big this time of year in college baseball. Each of the state’s Big 3 NCAA Division I schools got one Friday, and big flies played a big role. Ole Miss, which is practically in desperation mode, won at Auburn 11-7 for its 24th win, sparked by home runs from Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters Jackson Ross, Andrew Fischer and Will Furniss. Surging Mississippi State picked up win No. 31, a 13-3 run-rule rout of Alabama in Starkville. The Bulldogs hit four bombs, including a pair by red-hot Hunter Hines, and Khal Stephen notched win No. 7. Southern Miss got win No. 29, getting a homer from Nick Monistere and three run-scoring doubles in a 7-2 victory against Coastal Carolina at Hattiesburg; Billy Oldham earned win No. 6. … In the MACCC playoffs, Hinds Community College pulled off an upset win vs. Northwest Mississippi CC in Game 1 at Senatobia. Braden Richardson, Cameron Hill and Tyler Jonas went deep for the Eagles, the latter hitting a late grand slam in the 9-5 victory. That best-of-3 series continues today, while the other three will begin. The series winners move on to next week’s NJCAA Division II Region 23 Tournament in Poplarville. … Delta State needs a win today to stay alive in the GSC Tournament at Oxford, Ala. The NCAA D-II Statesmen, seeded third, were upset by No. 6 West Florida, which got to closer Josh Hill for a run in the ninth in a 4-3 win. All-GSC pick Dylan Coleman was 3-for-5 with an RBI for DSU, which plays 7-seed Shorter today.

01 May

big wednesday

The Mississippi Braves play an 11 a.m. matinee today at Trustmark Park in Pearl, the pro game against Pensacola serving as an appetizer of sorts for tonight’s Ole Miss-Mississippi State clash at the same venue. The televised non-conference game (6:30 p.m./ESPN2) between the Rebels (23-20, 27th in ncca.com’s RPI) and Bulldogs (29-15, 28th in RPI) could have implications for their NCAA Tournament chances. UM took two of three from State in their SEC series last month. … Meanwhile, in Jackson, Tenn., William Carey University and Blue Mountain Christian will begin play today in the SSAC Championship. Carey (30-14) is the No. 2 seed and will open Pool B play against Thomas U. BMC (29-19) is the 8-seed and draws top-seeded Faulkner to start Pool A play. The winners of the two four-team pools will meet for the championship, with both getting bids to the NAIA Tournament. … The Belhaven University-MUW game originally scheduled for tonight in Clinton has been cancelled. The Blazers (23-15) have finished their regular season and will compete in the CCS postseason next week. P.S. The pairings are set for the MACCC’s best-of-3 play-in series, which begin Friday: East Central, ranked No. 1 in NJCAA Division II, hosts Northeast; No. 12 Northwest hosts Hinds; No. 13 Jones hosts East Mississippi; and Meridian hosts Copiah-Lincoln. The series winners advance to the NJCAA Division II Region 23 Tournament next week in Poplarville, home of regular season champion Pearl River, ranked No. 2 nationally. … Eli Huebner of Meridian was named the MACCC hitter of the week after batting .500 with three homers, including two grand slams in one inning, in four games, while PRCC’s Caleb Dyess earned pitcher of the week honors following his six-hitter in the championship-clinching 7-1 win against Northwest on Saturday.

28 Apr


Millsaps College’s season ended Saturday in soul-crushing fashion: a 4-3 loss on a walk-off home run that capped a four-run ninth inning for Centre (Ky.), the top seed in the SAA postseason. With the defeat in Game 2 of the best-of-3 playoff series, the the NCAA Division III Majors end the season at 14-27. … Rust’s run in the GCAC Tournament at Smith-Wills Stadium ended with a 21-11 loss to regular season champion Wiley (Texas). The NAIA Bearcats, who went 2-2 in the tournament, finished 16-33. Tougaloo’s season ended in the Jackson tourney on Friday, also with a loss to Wiley; the Bulldogs went 13-35. … Mississippi College’s season ended in a rough manner: The Choctaws were swept in a three-game series at rival Delta State, finishing the year at 20-25, 10-20 in the Division II Gulf South Conference. DSU, which is on to the GSC Tournament next weekend, found enough pitching to win 8-6, 5-3 and 9-2. … Ole Miss did not find enough pitching to win Saturday’s rubber game against nationally ranked Alabama, falling 10-3 in Oxford. The ailing Rebels (23-20, 7-14 SEC) surrendered 30 runs in the three games. Ole Miss plays Mississippi State in the so-called Governor’s Cup game at Trustmark Park in Pearl next Wednesday. … Pearl River Community College beat Northwest CC 7-1 in Poplarville to clinch the MACCC regular season title. The Wildcats, ranked No. 4 in NJCAA Division II, are 46-8, 25-3 in conference, and will host the Region 23 Tournament May 13-17. They’ll be joined by LSU-Eunice and the winners of the MACCC’s four play-in series. … Ex-Southern Miss star Nick Sandlin, a Georgia native, pitched a 1-2-3 11th inning to notch his first career save (in 155 appearances) as Cleveland took down Atlanta 4-2 at Truist Park. Sandlin has a 2.84 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP in 14 games for the first-place Guardians.

24 Apr

stat freaks

In the hitting-heavy MACCC, where runs tend to flow like the mighty Mississippi, a pair of state natives are tied for the national lead in scoring. Brady Magee, from Lake, has scored 66 runs for No. 2 East Central Community College, matching the total of Jeff Ince, a Brandon native, who plays for No. 3 Pearl River CC. ECCC has state’s RBI leader, Mo Little (Brandon), whose total of 67 ranks second in the NJCAA Division II stats. Hollis Porter (Hurley) of PRCC leads the league in homers with 19, which also ranks second in the nation. No. 12 Northwest has the MACCC’s top base stealer, Jacob Hill (Byhalia), with 35, which ranks ninth nationally. The state’s leading hitter is Gulf Coast’s Marc Stephens, batting .450 for the Bulldogs. Bryce Fowler (Madison) of PRCC leads in total hits with 76, ranking second in the nation. His teammate Porter has 72 knocks and Hinds’ Thomas Marsala 70, both sitting in the top 10 in the country. There is some quality pitching out there: Luke Lirette of Southwest leads D-II in total strikeouts with 104 (in 65 2/3 innings), and seven other MACCC pitchers rank in the top 10 in K’s. Beau Bryans (Madison) of 13th-ranked Jones is No. 2 in the nation in K’s per nine innings (14.63). ECCC’s Luke Cooley (Waynesboro) ranks seventh in the nation with a 1.86 ERA; he is 7-0. Meridian’s Landon Waters (Duck Hill) is second in strikeouts (95) and 10th in ERA (1.97). … Key games on today’s schedule: ECCC (44-4) hosts Southwest; PRCC (43-7) visits Jones (35-11); Northwest (35-13) travels to Itawamba; and Meridian is at Gulf Coast.

18 Apr

hard times befallen

Expectations were not great for the Chicago White Sox heading into this season. Marcus Thames, the Louisville native and ex-East Central Community College star hired as the club’s new hitting coach in the off-season, surely knew this. But just as surely, he did not expect the times to be this hard. The White Sox can’t hit. They split a doubleheader against visiting Kansas City on Wednesday despite scoring just four runs on 11 hits and going 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position. The team ranks last in MLB in runs, home runs and OPS and 29th in batting. They are 3-15. Injuries to some key players are partly to blame for the ice-cold start, but not solely. “We have guys who are capable of being better,” Thames said in a recent mlb.com story. The ChiSox won just 61 games in a tumultuous 2023 season. Manager Pedro Grifol’s staff changes included the hiring of Thames as the team’s third hitting coach in three years. The former big league slugger has earned a strong reputation as a coach after stops in New York (Yankees), Miami and Los Angeles (Angels). But his skills are being tested with a club projected by USA Today to win just 69 games. “This game is tough,” he told mlb.com, “but at the same time we have to battle and compete.” P.S. Thames’ alma mater, No. 4-ranked East Central CC, took a pair from No. 2 Pearl River CC, 3-1 and 7-2, in the big juco showdown in Poplarville. PRCC’s 29-game win streak was halted. The Wildcats are 42-7, 22-2 in the MACCC. ECCC, which was No. 1 in NJCAA Division II at one point, is 42-4, 18-4. The Warriors rode the bat of Mo Little and the arms of Marbin Lezcano and Luke Cooley to the impressive sweep.

17 Apr

clash of titans

For one day at least — make that today — the center of the state’s baseball universe is Dub Herring Park in Poplarville. Pearl River Community College (42-5), ranked No. 2 in NJCAA Division II and riding a 29-game win streak, hosts East Central CC (40-4), which is ranked No. 4 and started the season with 31 straight wins while rising to No. 1. The host Wildcats are 22-0 in the MACCC; ECCC’s Warriors are 16-4. PRCC hits .345 as a team with 77 home runs. The big bopper in the lineup is Hollis Porter, raking at .431 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs. The Wildcats’ pitching staff features a 2.43 ERA and three eight-game winners, led by J.P. Robertson (8-0, 2.28). Mo Little, a preseason All-America pick, leads ECCC with a .372 average, nine homers, 62 RBIs and 16 steals. Luke Cooley is the Warriors’ ace: 6-0, 1.89 ERA, 13.3 K’s per nine innings. Today’s twinbill starts at 3 p.m. … Two other big doubleheaders are on today’s MACCC docket: No. 12 Jones College (33-9) visits Meridian, which was ranked 13th in preseason, and No. 15 Northwest (31-12) hosts East Mississippi.

28 Mar

rising river

East Central Community College currently holds the No. 1 ranking in NJCAA Division II, but Pearl River CC is No. 5 with a bullet. The Wildcats swept two games from Hinds on Tuesday to run their win streak to 19. They are 32-5 and 12-0 in the MACCC, alone in first place. ECCC, which won its first 31 games of the season, lost for the second time in three outings on Wednesday, falling to Copiah-Lincoln 3-1 in Game 2 of a twinbill. ECCC is 32-2, 8-2. Seventh-ranked Jones beat Gulf Coast twice on Wednesday to improve to 29-5, 11-1; and No. 18 Northwest sits at 24-8, 9-1, after a sweep of Holmes. But Pearl River, which won the national championship two years ago, is the team of the moment. The ‘Cats belted 11 homers in a sweep of Itawamba on Saturday, then got great pitching on Tuesday from Thomas Crabtree — the league’s reigning pitcher of the week — and J.P. Robertson, former Germantown High star, in the 9-2, 6-1 sweep of Hinds. Hollis Porter, named the NJCAA D-II hitter of the week on Wednesday, homered in Game 1 and drove in three runs in Game 2. The Mississippi State transfer from Hurley is batting .425 with 15 homers, four shy of the school single-season record. P.S. Baseball America’s first projected field of 64 for the NCAA Tournament features four state schools, with Jackson State joining Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. UM and MSU — the national champs in 2022 and 2021, respectively — missed the tournament in 2023.