Magnolia State college baseball roundup: Berry calling it a career at USM

Published 11:00 am Monday, May 22, 2023

With the regular season at its end, here’s a swing around look at college baseball teams throughout the state.


Southern Miss

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There might not be a hotter team in the country right now as the Eagles have won 14 games in a row after beating UL-Lafayette on Thursday by a 4-0 final score on Thursday. The Eagles are 36-15 at press time and wrap up the regular season on Saturday with a 1 p.m. first pitch against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

The game on Saturday will also be the regular season finale at Pete Taylor Park for head coach Scott Berry, the winningest all-time coach in Southern Miss baseball history.

The 60-year-old Berry is in his 14th season leading the Golden Eagles. He’s taken Southern Miss to the NCAA tournament eight times thus far and the Eagles will surely be in the field for the 2023 event.

Southern Miss has won at least 30-games in every season under Berry and have won at least 40-games in a season for the last six straight seasons.

The coaching lineage within Southern Miss baseball is a proud one as legendary coach Hill Denson led the program from 1984-1997. Denson was the all-time winningest coach in school history before Berry broke that mark.

Denson went on to coach for 19 years at Belhaven before retiring from that position in 2019.

At Southern Miss, Denson was replaced by the late Corky Palmer. Palmer, who passed away in 2022, had come back to Hattiesburg to be an assistant coach for Denson after a successful run as the head coach at Meridian CC.

It was a similar script that brought Berry to Hattiesburg as he started his career as an assistant for Palmer at Meridian and then followed him as the head coach at the school.

In 2009, Palmer’s last season as head coach, the Eagles made the first trip to the NCAA College World Series in program history.

Southern Miss has not named a successor to Berry yet, but one would think that associate head coach Christian Ostrander is a top contender for the job.

The late season hot streak by Southern Miss has the Eagles in strong position to host an NCAA region in the upcoming tournament.


Mississippi State

There is momentum in Starkville as the Bulldogs are battling until the last out of the regular season in order to qualify for the upcoming SEC Tournament in Hoover.

State currently sits at 27-24 overall after getting a walk-off win over Texas A&M on Thursday by a 10-8 final score.

That victory came on the heels of two wins last week at LSU, including a thrilling 14-13 win on Sunday in 10 innings.

The path to jumping Georgia or Missouri in the SEC standings ahead of the league tournament is still a difficult one, but State got things moving in the right direction on Thursday with the win over TAMU in game one.

Head coach Chris Lemonis announced the school was parting ways with pitching coach Scott Foxhall earlier this month.

Foxhall was on the staff when the Dogs won the NCAA National Championship in 2021 and was named assistant coach of the year following that season.

This season MSU had the lowest earned runs average in the SEC for much of the year.


Ole Miss

The Ole Miss Rebels won the 2022 NCAA College World Series. They won’t get to defend that title though as they enter Friday and regular season ending double header at the University of Alabama with a 25-27 record.

The Rebels lost pitching ace Hunter Elliott to an elbow injury during the season and could never get things rolling in SEC league play. The team didn’t capture a league series until they won 2-out-of-3 against Georgia in the seventh league tilt of 2023.