06 Mar

good stuff

Jackson State has won nine straight games and put up some football scores in the process. In their last five, the Tigers (11-2) have scored 17, 21, 13, 19 and 17 runs. They blew away error-prone Alcorn State in a non-SWAC series at Lorman over the weekend, getting big performances from Ty Hill, Jordon Smiley and Marcus Atterberry. Hill, a grad student from Saltillo, is batting .447 with three homers, 18 RBIs and 18 runs. … Hotter even than JSU is Blue Mountain Christian. The recently renamed NAIA school has won 10 straight and sits at 17-3 and 3-0 SSAC after a sweep of Stillman. … SSAC member William Carey University (14-4) has won six straight and tallied 43 runs in a weekend sweep of Dillard. Patrick Lee, a senior from Pascagoula, had an eight-RBI game in a 16-5 win in the finale of a Saturday doubleheader. … Nationally ranked Ole Miss (10-2), coming off a controversial twinbill split against Louisiana Tech, crushed three Big Ten teams in an event in Minnesota. Ethan Groff, a Tulane transfer, went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, two runs and a steal in Sunday’s 14-5 win against Nebraska. Groff is batting .413 with three homers, 22 RBIs and 17 runs for the Rebels, who’ll host Southern Miss on Tuesday. … USM (8-3) allowed just six runs total in a sweep of Dallas Baptist over the weekend. The Golden Eagles got sterling starts from ace Tanner Hall, Matthew Adams and Niko Mazza, the former MRA standout, plus two saves from Justin Storm. Tuesday’s trip to Oxford will be USM’s first true road game. … Mississippi State (7-5) didn’t get much pitching in a tournament in Texas but was bailed out in its third game by fireballing reliever Nate Dohm. The Ball State transfer tossed five scoreless innings in relief in a win against Cal, punching out six batters. In 12 1/3 innings in five games, Dohm has 12 K’s, two wins and a spotless ERA. … Mississippi College (6-12) went 1-2 against Tampa, ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II, in a series at Clinton. All three games were one-run affairs. … On Tuesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Division III rivals Millsaps (7-7) and Belhaven (3-8) will play the second game of the Maloney Trophy Series. Belhaven won the first meeting 4-3, the Blazers’ eighth straight win in the series.

23 Feb

making news

Mississippi State’s freshman switch-pitcher — Jurrangelo Cijntje — appears to be much more than a novelty act. Cijntje made his first start on Wednesday against visiting Louisiana-Monroe and threw four shutout innings, fanning six batters with his right arm and one with his left in a 14-3 victory. In two appearances, he has allowed three hits, no runs and one walk with eight punchouts for the 3-2 Bulldogs. Wednesday’s performance rated a witty headline on mlb.com: “Give him a hand … or two!” On si.com, he was hailed as a “new star.” The 5-foot-11 Cijntje, from Florida, was an 18th-round draft pick by Milwaukee last summer. A natural lefty, he hits 92 mph from that side but amps it up to 97 with his right arm. In its pre-draft scouting report last year, Baseball America noted that Cijntje has “real touch and feel with both arms.” On Wednesday, he threw 58 pitches right-handed, 17 lefty. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles SEC lineups. … Overshadowed by the switch-pitcher was the reported 474-foot home run hit by Bulldogs freshman Dakota Jordan. It was the first bomb of the season for the former Jackson Academy star, who is 5-for-21 on the year. P.S. Kudos to Picayune native and ex-Pearl River Community College star Matt Riser, who notched his 300th win as coach at Southeastern Louisiana when the Lions pummeled Jackson State 19-0 at Braddy Field on Tuesday. … Getting home runs from Patrick Lee, Billy Garrity and Bailee Hendon, William Carey University beat Southeastern Baptist College 23-3 at Boston Park in Laurel on Wednesday. Carey, a traditional NAIA power, is 8-2. SBC, a fledgling NCCAA program, was playing its season opener.

20 Dec

it’s coming up …

Something to warm you up on a cold, wet day: The start of the college season in the Magnolia State is just six weeks away. William Carey University, an NAIA program, will get it started on Feb. 2 at home against Cumberland University. So there. … There was news of note on Monday, when Collegiate Baseball Magazine released its preseason All-America team. Southern Miss pitcher Tanner Hall and Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez have been named to the first team. Hall, the Ferriss Trophy winner in 2022, went 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA for the Golden Eagles. Gonzalez, the top MLB draft prospect in the state for 2023, batted .273 with 18 homers for national champion Ole Miss, which beat USM in a thrilling Super Regional in Hattiesburg to advance to Omaha. Rebels lefty Hunter Elliott was a second-team choice by CB, and USM first baseman Christopher Sargent made the third team. … The NCAA Division I start date is Feb. 17. The defending champion Rebels, minus some stars but fortified by a highly touted recruiting class, open at home against Delaware. USM, which moves from C-USA into the Sun Belt this season, hosts Liberty, and Mississippi State welcomes VMI on opening day. Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State will play in the Cactus Jack HBCU Classic at Houston’s Minute Maid Park on opening weekend. The Tigers play Southern University, Valley and Prairie View A&M in that order. Alcorn State opens at home against Alabama A&M on Feb. 17. … The annual college series at Trustmark Park in Pearl will feature USM-State on Feb. 28, Ole Miss-USM on March 28 and State-Ole Miss (the Governor’s Cup) on April 25. … Other opening days for state schools: On Feb. 3, Division II Mississippi College hosts Arkansas-Monticello and NAIA Rust visits Tuskegee; on Feb. 4, D-II Delta State visits Harding for a twinbill; on Feb. 5, NAIA Tougaloo is at Xavier of New Orleans; and on Feb. 10, D-III Millsaps is at home against LeTourneau. D-III Belhaven, now in the new USA South Conference, has not released its 2023 schedule. … USM pitching coach Christian Ostrander will be the speaker for Hinds Community College’s first First Pitch Banquet on Jan. 28. The juco season also starts in early February. Defending NJCAA Division II champ Pearl River CC opens on the road on Feb. 4.

01 Aug

on the dotted line

Of the 23 players drafted from the state last month, it appears that only two did not sign as of today’s deadline. Mississippi State right-hander K.C. Hunt, a 12th-round pick by Pittsburgh, and William Carey University’s two-way star Chris Williams, a 19th-round selection as a lefty pitcher by Detroit, have college eligibility remaining and could return to school. Both played this summer, Hunt in the MLB Draft League and Williams in the Sunbelt Collegiate League. Pitcher Landon Sims and catcher Logan Tanner were picked out of MSU on Day 1 of the three-day draft. Sims signed with Arizona for a reported $2.35 million bonus and Tanner with Cincinnati for $1.03M. Eight other college players went in the top 10 rounds. Two high school players were picked in later rounds, South Panola’s Emaarion Boyd and Tishomingo County’s Spence Coffman. Boyd, 11th round by Philadelphia, got a reported $647,500, per mlb.com. The lone juco player picked, Meridian Community College’s Ke’Shun Collier, 20th round by the Chicago Cubs, was among the first players to sign. He got a reported $100,000.

25 Jun

around the horn

As the weather has warmed in the Carolina League, so has Blaze Jordan, the ex-DeSoto Central High star. Jordan, playing for Boston’s Low-Class A Salem team, homered for the second straight day on Friday and now has eight homers on the season. But the 19-year-old third baseman, who famously has been winning home run derby contests since age 11, is doing more than slug. After a poor start in April, Jordan hit .323 in May and has really cranked it up in June: .421. Boston’s No. 6 prospect is batting .309 overall with a .361 on-base average, 20 doubles, 40 RBIs and 38 runs in 61 games. He has struck out just 44 times in 243 at-bats with 18 walks. In only his second pro season, Jordan is making big strides. … Look for Brandon Woodruff, the Mississippi State alum from Wheeler, to make a return to Milwaukee’s rotation soon, possibly Tuesday. On the injured list since late May, Woodruff threw a rehab game in A-ball on Thursday and pronounced himself healthy. He pitched five innings and allowed one run on two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. The two-time All-Star is 5-3 with a 4.74 ERA for the Brewers this season. … Meanwhile, former State standout Hunter Renfroe, who has 13 homers this season, has missed Milwaukee’s last two games with a reported calf injury. It seems unclear how long Renfroe might be down. … Kudos to Jackson native and ex-big leaguer Stan Cliburn, whose Southern Maryland Blue Crabs clinched the Atlantic League North first-half title on Thursday. Cliburn’s club is 42-14. Among his best players are Mississippi products Braxton Lee (.305, 31 RBIs) and Bradley Roney (4-0, 4.21 ERA). … The Acadiana Cane Cutters, with a roster chock-full of Mississippians, lead the Texas Collegiate League with a 14-5 record. Patrick Lee, who plays for William Carey University, is batting .296 and has also pitched in five games for the summer league team. Carey’s Connor Adams is 3-0, 2.74 in eight appearances. Also on the roster are Casey Artigues (Southern Miss), Cade Crosby (Gulfport/Nicholls State), Vantrel Reed (Hinds Community College), Will Tynes (USM), Reed Vincent (Belhaven) and Justin Williams (Madison/Louisiana Tech).

08 May

championship stuff

For the second straight year, William Carey University wears the crown in the Southern States Athletic Conference. Behind a brilliant pitching performance by Chris Williams, the Crusaders beat Faulkner 7-0 Saturday, completing a 4-0 run through the double-elimination tournament at Columbus, Ga. R.J. Stinson hit a pivotal home run in a 13-6 win against Loyola-New Orleans earlier Saturday and drove in two more runs in the title-clincher. Carey (37-15) earns an automatic bid to the NAIA nationals at a regional site to be determined. Under coach Bobby Halford, in his 37th season, the Crusaders have won 18 conference titles (GCAC or SSAC) and been to eight NAIA tournaments. … Behind the brilliant pitching of Brett Sanchez, Belhaven University beat UT-Dallas 7-1 and moved into the championship round of its pod in the American Southwest Conference Tournament at Richardson, Texas. BU (28-14) plays UT-Dallas again today, needing one win to advance to the ASC title series. Sanchez (8-1) threw a complete-game six-hitter with nine strikeouts. Caleb Whittle homered for the Blazers. … Top-seeded Delta State lost to Lee University 9-3 and dropped into the losers bracket of the Gulf South Conference Tournament at Oxford, Ala. DSU (31-14) plays Montevallo today in an elimination game. … Wesley Lester’s 10th-inning grand slam boosted Northwest Mississippi Community College past Meridian 14-11 and into the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament. East Mississippi also won a Game 3 on Saturday, beating East Central 11-1, and joins Northwest, Hinds, Jones, LSU-Eunice and host Pearl River in the region tourney at Poplarville starting May 16. The region winner moves on to the NJCAA Division II World Series.

06 May

winner, winner …

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.

05 Feb

and they’re off

In what might have been a good omen for the 2022 season, William Carey University rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to beat Lindsey Wilson 6-5 Friday in a frigid opener at Wheeler Field in Hattiesburg. Sophomore Caleb Laird got the walk-off knock, and Chris Williams, a transfer from Chipola Junior College in Florida, went 2-for-5 with a homer for the Crusaders, slated to play Lindsey Wilson again today in a doubleheader. Mississippi College launched its season with a 12-4 loss to North Greenville in the cold at Frierson Field in Clinton. The Choctaws were out-hit 15-4. The teams meet again today for a pair. Delta State’s slated opener was pushed back to today at Hot Springs, Ark., where the Statesmen will take on Harding in a three-day tournament. Millsaps, Blue Mountain and Tougaloo are scheduled to open today. P.S. Props to former Mississippi State star Will Clark, whose No. 22 will be retired by the San Francisco Giants on July 30 at Oracle Park, and to Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, who has been named the head coach of USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team for this summer. … Congrats to Piney Woods; the school’s baseball field will be renovated through the Atlanta Braves Foundation’s Henry Louis Aaron Fund.

14 May

coming events

The road to Lewiston, Idaho, will start in O’Fallon, Mo., for William Carey University, which has been assigned to the NAIA Tournament Opening Round hosted by fourth-ranked Central Methodist. Carey, champion of the SSAC Tournament, draws 19th-ranked Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.) to begin on May 17. The winner of the regional advances to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston. Tenth-ranked Loyola (New Orleans) is also hosting an Opening Round tourney, but Carey won’t get to make that short trip. Carey, as a 5-seed, beat the top-seeded Wolf Pack twice in the SSAC Tournament. Carey won the NAIA national title in 1969, one of only two championships by Mississippi four-year schools. (Delta State won the other.) The Crusaders’ Blake Freeman was named SSAC Tournament MVP after batting .474 with two homers (both in the title clincher) and was joined on the all-tournament team by pitcher Jorge Ramos and two-way star Sloan Dieter. … Jackson State, 24-0 and top seed from the East Division, will open SWAC Tournament play against West 4-seed Texas Southern on May 19 at Madison, Ala. Alcorn State, East 4-seed, gets West No. 1 Prairie View that same day. … Delta State heads to Pensacola, Fla., for the best-of-3 GSC Championship Series against West Florida starting on May 18. … MUW takes on Bryant & Stratton College-Albany (N.Y.) on May 17 in the first round of USCAA Small College World Series at DuBois, Pa. … And at Herring Park in Poplarville, the NJCAA D-II Region 23 Tournament, stacked with nationally ranked teams, begins May 17 with three games: Pearl River Community College vs. Hinds; Meridian vs. Itawamba; and LSU-Eunice vs. East Central.

10 May

here and there

William Carey University earned a bid to the NAIA national tournament by winning its first Southern States Athletic Conference championship on Sunday. Blake Freeman hit a pair of three-run homers and John Snyder delivered some clutch relief pitching to pace the Crusaders past Faulkner 11-7 Sunday at Mobile, Ala. Carey (34-10) won four straight in the SSAC Tournament, beating top seed Loyola (New Orleans) twice. The NAIA field will be announced Thursday; the Opening Round is set for May 17-20. … Delta State, 2-0 in the GSC Tournament, plays Alabama-Huntsville today in Oxford, Ala., for a berth in championship series. … In the junior college playoffs, Meridian, Itawamba, East Central and Hinds advanced to the NJCAA D-II Region 23 Tournament, which will start May 17 at Pearl River’s Herring Park. PRCC, the MACCC regular season champion, and LSU-Eunice are also in the six-team field. … MUW (20-9) will play in the USCAA Small College World Series in Dubois, Pa., beginning May 17. … The Texas Rangers claimed former Mississippi State catcher Jack Kruger off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. He goes on the 40-man roster and will likely be assigned to Triple-A Round Rock. Kruger made one appearance, on defense, for the Angels before being squeezed out of a roster spot because of a trade.