College Sports

Mississippi's major baseball programs all receiving Top 25 recognition

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD 
 Southern Miss second baseman Storme Cooper looks to first after forcing out Tulane's Jeremy Montalbano on Marc 22 at MGM Park in Biloxi.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Southern Miss second baseman Storme Cooper looks to first after forcing out Tulane's Jeremy Montalbano on Marc 22 at MGM Park in Biloxi. SUN HERALD

Mississippi's three major baseball programs are fully represented in this week's Baseball America Top 25. Mississippi State sits at No. 2, Ole Miss is at No. 8 and Southern Miss makes its first appearance at No. 25.

Mississippi State (23-9) makes an impressive three-spot jump this week with Miami (25-4) holding the No. 1 ranking. The Bulldogs make the climb toward the top after taking two of three games from previous No. 1, Florida, in Gainesville last week.

A pair of Coast natives played a role in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Florida. East Central product Konnor Pilkington made the start and threw four scoreless innings. He was replaced by Poplarville native Zac Houston, who picked up the win by throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.

The Bulldogs host Memphis at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday before No. 4 Texas A&M (25-7) comes to Starkville Friday for a crucial three-game SEC series.

Mississippi State is in first place in the SEC West with an 8-4 mark and Ole Miss is two games back with a 6-6 SEC record.

Ole Miss (25-7) made a six-spot jump this week to No. 8 after winning all four games last week, beating Southern Miss 6-2 in the mid-week contest before picking up a three-game sweep of Arkansas in Oxford.

Ole Miss will host USM at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday before traveling to Alabama for a three-game SEC series starting on Friday.

Southern Miss (25-8) finally makes its way into the national polls for the first time this week. The Golden Eagles are No. 25 in the Baseball America poll after earning a three-game sweep of Middle Tennessee in Hattiesburg. USM is also included in this week's Collegiate Baseball poll at No. 18 and the Perfect Game poll at No. 22.

Monday marks the first time that USM has been ranked since early in the 2013 season.

Southern Miss will travel to UAB for a Conference USA series following the mid-week bout with Ole Miss.

The Golden Eagles are in first place in Conference USA with an 11-1 mark. Florida Atlantic and Rice are tied for second at 9-3 in league play.

MSU, Ole Miss and USM could all be in the discussion to host NCAA regionals if they can keep up their current pace. Ole Miss is ranked No. 4 in the NCAA's RPI rankings while MSU is No. 14 and Southern Miss is No. 15. A top 16 ranking usually gives teams a chance to host.

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