10 Jul

all that glitters

There were several glittering performances from Mississippians in pro ball on Tuesday: Jordan Westburg, the ex-Mississippi State standout, celebrated his appointment to the American League All-Star team (as a replacement) by smacking his 15th homer in Baltimore’s loss to the Chicago Cubs. … Biloxi High alum Colt Keith went 2-for-5 — that’s 12 hits in seven games — with his eighth homer as Detroit fell to Cleveland. … Gunnar Hoglund, former Ole Miss star, threw five shutout innings and notched his Texas League-leading ninth win for Double-A Midland in Oakland’s system. … Ex-South Panola High standout Emaarion Boyd, in his lone at-bat, singled in the tying and winning runs in the ninth inning for High-Class A Jersey Shore (Philadelphia). … Kemp Alderman, 2023 Ferriss Trophy winner at Ole Miss, hit his first homer of the season for Low-A Jupiter (Miami). … Mississippi College product Blaine Crim went 3-for-4 with his 17th double for Triple-A Round Rock (Texas). … But the brightest performance of the day was delivered by ex-MSU star Justin Foscue, who went 5-for-5 — a career-best — with three RBIs for Round Rock. Itching to get another shot at the big leagues — he was 1-for-2 back in April — Foscue is batting .276 with two homers and 14 RBIs for the Express.

29 Apr

minor matters

Around the minor leagues: Jake Mangum came off the injured list Sunday for Triple-A Durham, tripled and drove in two runs as the Bulls beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6-2. The former Mississippi State standout, in his fifth minor league season, is batting .367 with two homers and 10 RBIs in eight games for Durham in his first year in the Tampa Bay system. … Chuckie Robinson, the Southern Miss product, went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs for Triple-A Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox system. The 29-year-old catcher, now with his third organization, is hitting .297 with three homers and 12 RBIs. He reached the big leagues in 2022 with Cincinnati. … Ex-USM star Matt Wallner, sent down by Minnesota after a 2-for-25 start, is hitting just .194 with a homer and seven RBIs in nine games for Triple-A St. Paul. … Mississippi College product Blaine Crim has just 18 hits for Triple-A Round Rock (Texas system) but five have left the yard. … Kevin Graham, who played on Ole Miss’ 2022 championship team, is batting .385 (third in the Texas League) for Double-A Amarillo (Arizona system). … R.J. Yeager, who hit 18 homers at MSU in 2022, is batting .299 with five bombs for Springfield, St. Louis’ Double-A club. Yeager signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Cardinals two years ago. … Matthew Etzel, drafted out of USM in 2023, is batting .333 with two homers, 12 RBIs and nine steals for High-Class A Aberdeen in the Baltimore chain. Reed Trimble, a 2021 draftee by the Orioles, is batting .273 with five steals for Aberdeen but recently went on the IL, where he has spent a lot of time. … Former MSU standout Colton Ledbetter is batting .288 with three homers and nine RBIs for High-A Bowling Green. He was a second-round pick by Tampa Bay last summer. … Jackson Prep product Will Warren, a highly rated New York Yankees prospect, is 3-0 with a 4.22 ERA for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … Ole Miss alum Gunnar Hoglund, the 19th overall pick in 2021 by Oakland, is 2-1, 4.39, for Double-A Midland. … Ex-UM standout Brandon Johnson is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in seven relief appearances at High-A Quad Cities (Kansas City). … Former Smithville High star Jared Johnson, now in the Atlanta system, has two saves and a 0.00 ERA in six relief appearances for High-A Rome. … Landon Sims, one of the heroes of MSU’s 2021 national title team, is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA, a hold and a save in five games for Low-A Visalia (Arizona). He was the 34th overall pick in 2022 while down with Tommy John surgery.

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.

27 Apr

right place, right time

Adam Frazier doesn’t always play right field, but when he does … well, on Friday, the former Mississippi State star made one of the best plays of the year in MLB. Starting in right for the first time this season for Kansas City, Frazier took a home run away from Detroit’s Parker Meadows with a leaping snag at the wall, stuck the landing and fired a throw to first base to double off a runner. It was a big momentum play in the third inning of the Royals’ 8-0 win at Comerica Park — and even drew raves (on X) from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “He wows me sometimes,” Frazier told mlb.com, “so to wow him, that’s pretty cool.” Frazier, batting just .207 this year, went 1-for-3 Friday with an RBI and two runs for the 17-10 Royals. Typically a second baseman, the 5-foot-10 Frazier was making just the 33rd start of his nine-year career in right field. P.S. The struggling Houston Astros (7-19) sent struggling MSU product J.P. France (0-3, 7.46) to the minors. France won 11 games for Houston in 2023. … Ex-Ole Miss standout Chris Ellis, who last pitched in the majors two years ago, has signed a minor league deal with Arizona. He had previously inked with the independent Long Island Ducks. … Ex-Mississippi College star Blaine Crim, playing at Triple-A Round Rock in the Texas system, smacked a double and two home runs, driving in seven runs for the Express on Friday night. Crim is batting .231 with five homers. … Blaze Jordan, the DeSoto Central High product, hit his second homer and extended his hitting streak to seven games for Double-A Portland (Boston). Jordan is batting .237. … Southern Miss alum Hurston Waldrep allowed just one run in six innings in his second straight quality start for the Double-A Mississippi Braves. After a rocky start this season, Waldrep has allowed just two runs in 12 innings with 10 strikeouts in his last two outings. The 2023 first-round pick by Atlanta is 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA. … In the college ranks: Rust will play an elimination game today (3:30 p.m.) in the GCAC Tournament at Smith-Wills Stadium. The Bearcats will meet the winner of an earlier elimination game between Wiley and Dillard. Unbeaten Talladega awaits in the championship round. Tougaloo was eliminated on Friday. … Millsaps College fell to top-seeded Centre (Ky.) 4-3 in the opener of their SAA best-of-3 playoff series. Majors ace Wil Wood let a 3-0 lead get away in the sixth and seventh innings; Will Norris took the loss.

26 Apr

collision course

If momentum means anything, Mississippi College might have an edge against Delta State when the NCAA Division II rivals hook up in Cleveland this weekend (today-Saturday). The Choctaws (20-22, 10-17 Gulf South) are coming off a walk-off win — courtesy of a Caleb Reese home run — and have won four of their last six. Delta State (25-20, 16-11) has lost five in a row and six of seven, though the Statesmen have clinched a berth in the GSC Tournament while MC is on the outside looking in. MC has some power bats — Reese and J.T. Vance have 14 homers each and Wesley Sides has 12 — and some speed — 80 steals, 15 by Cole Drake — but has been dragged down by its pitching. The staff ERA is 6.46 and no pitcher has more than three wins. Cooper Gadman is 3-1 with a 3.92, and reliever Michael Sutton has a 3.86 and two saves. Dylan Coleman has been the offensive bell cow for DSU, batting .364 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs. Brett Burrell is at .346. No. 1 starter Drake Fontenot is 6-3 despite a 5.66 ERA, while reliever Josh Hill is 4-0 with six saves and a 3.79. If history means anything, DSU might be favored to take the three-game series at Ferriss Field. The Statesmen lead all-time 50-14 according to DSU records, 46-14 per MC’s. Of course, it’ll probably come down to which pitching staff can get the clutch outs. P.S. In the GCAC Tournament at Jackson’s Smith-Wills Stadium, Rust beat top-seeded Wiley (Texas) on Thursday and is 2-0 heading into a winners bracket game today against Talladega (Ala.) at 5:30 p.m. Tougaloo stayed alive Thursday by beating Oakwood (Ala.) and meets Wiley in an elimination game today at 2 p.m.

06 Apr

trending …

Hot: Delta State has won six straight games, beating Christian Brothers 9-7 at Ferriss Field in Cleveland on Friday. The Statesmen (22-14, 13-6 GSC) rallied from 7-1 down to go ahead on three-run homer in the eighth inning by Dylan Dendy. Noah Magee got the last four outs, all via strikeout. … William Carey University has won five straight and 12 of 13 after whipping Brewton-Parker 11-4 at Wheeler Field in Hattiesburg. Jake Lycette and Bailee Hendon drove in three runs each for the Crusaders (23-10, 13-6 SSAC).
Not: Ole Miss fell to top-ranked Arkansas 8-3 at Fayetteville and has lost six in a row, including five straight in SEC play. The Rebels (18-14, 3-8) have surrendered 59 runs during the losing skid. … Mississippi College lost to Valdosta State 7-5 at Frierson Field in Clinton and has dropped 10 of its last 12. Starter Holland Townes (3-4) yielded seven hits, four walks, two HBPs and five runs in 5 2/3 innings for the Choctaws (14-18, 6-13 GSC), who have a staff ERA of 6.35.
Friday firsts in MLB: Former Mississippi State star Justin Foscue got his first big league at-bat and flied out for Texas in its romp against Houston. … Ex-MSU standout Brent Rooker, now with Oakland, hit his first homer of the season in another loss by the A’s. … Ole Miss alum James McArthur got his first save of 2024 and former MSU star Chris Stratton his first win as Kansas City beat the Chicago White Sox.
P.S. The Legacy League, a wood-bat developmental league, will begin play in June, 2025, at Jackson’s Smith-Wills Stadium, according to a press release from Tim Bennett, who operates the Hank Aaron Sports Academy at Smith-Wills. The Legacy League will have 10 teams, comprised of college players as well as players from other countries, in its inaugural season, per the announcement. The teams will represent local communities and play a 40-game schedule. The league website lists Dusty Baker, Andruw Jones, Brian Jordan, Ralph Garr and Deuce McAllister among its owners/members. There are a large number of college summer leagues around the country, including the Cape Cod League, Texas Collegiate League, Coastal Plain League, Appalachian League, Perfect Game League, Southeast Collegiate League, Valley League and the New Albany-based Cotton States League, which once operated in Jackson.

07 Mar

who’s on first

Nathaniel Lowe, the Texas Rangers’ regular first baseman, got a day off Wednesday. Filling in for the ex-Mississippi State standout were a pair of Magnolia State products, both of whom are putting up good numbers this spring. Former State star Justin Foscue, the Rangers’ No. 5-ranked prospect, went 1-for-3 in Wednesday’s game against Colorado in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is batting .348 in 23 at-bats this spring. Blaine Crim, a Mississippi College alum, replaced Foscue at first base mid-game and went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer. He is hitting .333 with seven RBIs in 21 Cactus League ABs. Foscue, primarily a middle infielder in his three years of minor league ball, is getting time at first base this spring and could make the defending World Series champs’ roster as the backup to Lowe. A first-round pick in 2020, Foscue reached Triple-A in 2023 and batted .266 with 18 homers and 84 RBIs. Crim was a 19th-round pick out of MC in 2019 and has done nothing but rake in pro ball. He hit .289 with 22 homers and 85 RBIs at Triple-A Round Rock last season. Crim isn’t on the 40-man roster but appears poised to make the jump this season if a need arises. For the record, Lowe is entrenched at first base. He won a Gold Glove in 2023 and a Silver Slugger in 2022. Last season, the lefty hitter batted .262 with 17 bombs and 82 RBIs. He has 62 homers in three years with the Rangers.

24 Feb

spring flings

Who needs spring training? Ex-Ole Miss star Tim Elko, now a Chicago White Sox minor leaguer, homered in his first at-bat in the team’s Cactus League opener on Friday. Power is Elko’s thing. He blasted 28 homers across three levels of the minors in 2023 and has 33 in his two-year pro career. The first baseman/DH hit 46 in his four years at Ole Miss and helped the Rebels win the national championship in 2022. He reached Double-A last season and should get to Triple-A at some point in 2024. The season is several weeks away, but Elko looked ready on Day 1. Also making an appearance for the ChiSox was Southern Miss alum Chuckie Robinson, who went 0-for-1. The veteran catcher, who has some big league time, signed with Chicago as a minor league free agent this off-season. … Elsewhere in spring openers: Former Hattiesburg High standout Joe Gray Jr., now a Kansas City minor leaguer, went 1-for-1 with a walk and an RBI for the Royals against Texas, which trotted out three Magnolia State products: Mississippi State alum Nathaniel Lowe, the World Series-champion Rangers’ regular first baseman, was 0-for-2; Mississippi College alum Blaine Crim, a minor leaguer, went 0-for-2; and ex-MSU standout Justin Foscue, now on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, was hitless in two at-bats. … Ex-Pascagoula High star Willie Joe Garry Jr., a Minnesota minor leaguer, was 0-for-1 with two walks and two runs for the Twins, while USM product Matt Wallner, a starting outfielder for the Twins, put up an 0-for-2. … MSU alum Konnor Pilkington allowed a run in his one inning of work for Arizona. … And former DeSoto Central standout Blaze Jordan, who reached Double-A in 2023, played some third base and went 0-for-1 for Boston.

22 Feb

here and there

Delta State, pegged for a sixth-place finish in the Gulf South Conference this season, opens league play this weekend with a 6-5 record. The Statesmen will take on Union University for a three-game set (Friday-Saturday). DSU was the preseason favorite in the league poll in 2023 and finished eighth before reaching the championship round in the league tournament. Go figure. DSU is batting .323 as a team with a staff ERA of 6.00. The Statesmen are led by Brett Burrell, batting .444 with 11 RBIs, and Brendan McCauley, .391 with a homer and seven RBIs. … Mississippi College (8-3, 2-1 GSC) plays on the road for the first time this weekend, visiting league foe Auburn-Montgomery. … Blue Mountain Christian (11-3) has 19 home runs, seven by Arderrius Townsend, a former Northwest Mississippi Community College star. … Belhaven University is 3-3 heading into its first home games, a three-game set this weekend against St. Thomas at Trustmark Park in Pearl. … Mississippi Valley State will play its first games under new coach C.J. Bilbrey when the Delta Devils meet Jackson State (4-1) in a non-conference series, games at Braddy Field on Friday and Sunday and one in Itta Bena on Saturday. Joseph Eichelberger is batting a crazy .714 for JSU. … Southern Miss’ Nick Monistere was 0-for-10 heading into Wednesday’s game at New Orleans, then put up a 3-for-4 with a homer, five RBIs, four runs and two walks in the 4-1 Golden Eagles’ 15-10 victory. … Mississippi State is 13th and Ole Miss 14th in the Nashville Tennessean‘s latest SEC power rankings — and that was before both lost midweek games. MSU is 2-2, UM 2-3. The Rebels are batting .181 and have a 5.23 ERA. P.S. Pencil former East Central CC standout Tim Anderson in as Miami’s starting shortstop. The former All-Star and batting champ reportedly has signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Marlins on the heels of a disappointing 2023 season (.245, one homer) with the Chicago White Sox. Jon Berti was in line for the Miami shortstop job.

20 Feb

eye on …

Frierson Field, Clinton. William Carey University and Mississippi College, both off to good starts, renew their rivalry today. For the NCAA Division II Choctaws (7-3), Wesley Sides is on a jaw-dropping tear, batting .552 with six homers and 15 RBIs. MC has two other hitters, Cole Drake and J.T. Vance, with four homers each. And Caleb Reese, who has three bombs, is sitting on 35 career homers, tied for second on the school’s all-time list. (Richey Hines is No. 1 on that chart with 57. Yes, 57.) MC’s staff ERA is a tad troubling: 5.89. NAIA Carey (7-3) has been sparked offensively by Braydon Coffey at .462 and R.J. Stinson at .382. The Crusaders have just three homers as a team but do sport a 3.74 ERA. Closer John Snyder has five saves. … MC leads the series 6-2, per Carey’s website. Carey leads 14-9, per MC’s. P.S. Former Mississippi State star Brandon Woodruff, who is unlikely to pitch this season after shoulder surgery, has re-signed with Milwaukee, a two-year deal. The former All-Star is 46-26 with a 3.10 ERA for his career.