Opponents have to take Magnolia State teams seriously every single game.
For the last two years, the state of Mississippi has had three separate colleges earn a National Championship in the sport of baseball, which shows the strength of the roots in the Magnolia State.
Two years ago, the Mississippi State University Bulldogs won in a shocking defeat of Southeastern Conference (SEC) opponent Vanderbilt during the NCAA Division I College World Series (CWS) finals after three games. The 2021 Bulldogs finished 50-18 but lost two games in the SEC Tournament before hosting a Regional and Super Regional to earn a berth in Omaha, Nebraska for the CWS.
This national championship was the first for a Bulldogs team in the history of its athletics program.
Similarly to the previous year, in 2022 the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels won a National Championship by defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in the final two games of the series. Before the playoffs started, Ole Miss was 45-22 and listed as the No. 12 national seed, which put them in an unfavorable category. After winning the Oxford Regional, they traveled to Hattiesburg taking on the strong Southern Miss (USM) Golden Eagles who just defeated the heavily favored Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers.
The Rebels didn’t even allow a score from USM in the two-game sweep, which earned them a berth in the CWS for the sixth time in team history.
In his 23rd season as the head baseball coach at Ole Miss and his second CWS berth, Mike Bianco brought home the first National Championship in baseball ever for the program.
The last, but not least baseball program that earned a historical landmark in the state was the Pearl River Community College (PRCC) team that won the 2022 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Championship. PRCC from Poplarville, Mississippi beat Madison Community College out of Madison, Wisconsin in a three-game final series at David Allen Memorial Park in Enid, Oklahoma the first weekend of June 2022. This was PRCC’s first National Championship in Junior College Baseball.
The star for the PRCC was the current Southern Miss first baseman Tate Parker from Gulfport who earned the NJCAA Division II Player of the Year. Parker’s numbers were video-game worthy, holding a .450 batting average, .531 on-base percentage and .820 slugging percentage. He collected 76 runs, 65 RBIs, 29 walks, 19 home runs and 18 stolen bases to go along with his slash line. His 19 home runs during the 2022 season pushed his career total to 37, making him the PRCC leader for career home runs.
Additionally with the team’s finishing record of 45-11, over 13 players were named All-Americans along with a few being selected in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft.
Since the accolades have piled up across the state, other college baseball teams are getting better this season by the game. After opening the 2023 season with a sweep of the Liberty Flames at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, Southern Miss looks to add another postseason berth following their 18th NCAA Tournament appearance and the second time they won a regional as a program last year.
Ole Miss begins the season with a 3-0 record after a sweep of Delaware this last weekend. PRCC is defending the championship heavily as it has begun the season with a 9-1 record and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon by having four games scoring over double digits.
Mississippi college baseball has developed a winning culture the last few years and should be taken seriously in every game.