25 Apr

three things, college edition

The unquestioned top story in Mississippi college baseball in 2022 has been the steady rise of Southern Miss, ranked No. 6 in the country in the new Baseball America poll. Also high on the list: the struggles of Mississippi State and Ole Miss; and the resurgence of NCAA Division III schools Belhaven University and Millsaps College. To wit: USM swept Rice over the weekend, holding the once-mighty Owls to five runs in three games as starters Tanner Hall, Hunter Riggins and Hurston Waldrep took turns at dominance. The Golden Eagles (32-8, 16-2 C-USA) have won 14 straight games and can set a school record for consecutive W’s by beating Southeastern Louisiana on the road Tuesday. USM’s staff has a 2.80 ERA and 460 strikeouts in 363 innings. That kind of pitching is hard to beat. … Defending national champion MSU and Ole Miss, briefly ranked No. 1 this season, had fallen to the bottom of the SEC West standings when they met in Oxford over the weekend. Who saw that coming? But the outcome at Swayze Field was fairly predictable: The Bulldogs won their sixth straight series over the Rebels, with coach Chris Lemonis improving to 8-2 vs. UM. Rebels coach Mike Bianco is 38-48 vs. State. They meet again Tuesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl in the Governor’s Cup (nee Mayor’s Trophy) game with a huge crowd expected. Has the rivalry begun to wane, as some wonder? Not hardly. “I grew up hating those guys. This is awesome,” Brad Cumbest, who hit the game-winning homer for State in Saturday’s rubber game, told 247sports.com. … Millsaps swept Sewanee at home over the weekend to improve to 21-18 and 11-10 in the Southern Athletic Association. Jim Page’s Majors are the 6-seed in the conference tournament slated for Georgia later this week and will meet old rival Rhodes in the opening round. Belhaven took two of three from Ozarks (at Frierson Field in Clinton) over the weekend and is 24-13, 17-10 in the American Southwest Conference. Under third-year coach Kyle Palmer, the Blazers are currently third in the league with one series remaining before the tournament, which will be the team’s last in the ASC. BU moves to the Collegiate Conference of the South next season.

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