Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

By Robert Wilson

Four players and three coaches on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team have Mississippi ties.

Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, Ole Miss pitcher Hunter Elliott, Southern Miss pitcher Tanner Hall and former Southern Miss pitcher Hurston Waldrep are players with Mississippi ties on the 26-man USA National Collegiate National Team roster announced this week.

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, who leads the Rebels to the national championship this season, is the USA national team manager. His youngest son, isHis His Oxford High alumnus Drew Bianco, who played at LSU, and Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Holmes Community College and Ole Miss alumnus and former collegiate assistant coach Xan Barksdale are two of the assistant coaches on the national team.

Gonzalez, a sophomore from Glendora, Calif., made the national team for the second consecutive year, the first an Ole Miss player to make the Collegiate National Team on multiple years. He is one of four players on this year’s team who were on last year’s Collegiate National Team. Gonzalez was one of the top players on the five intrasquad games between the Stars and Stripes as Bianco and his coaching staff had to trim down the roster from 51 to 26. Gonzalez tied for the team high with two doubles, tied for second with four runs batted in and fifth among all players with a .313 batting average.

Elliott, a freshman from Tupelo, was the winning pitcher in the final intrasquad game as he allowed only one hit and no runs with four strikeouts in two innings.

This is the sixth consecutive year – not counting 2020 year with covid – that Ole Miss has had a player on the USA Collegiate National Team. Ole Miss has had 14 players to earn spots on the team since 2003. Ole Miss is one of five schools with two players each on the team.

Tanner Hall Southern Miss Baseball
Courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics

Hall, a sophomore right-hander from Zachary, La., and first-team All-American, allowed two hits, one run with three strikeouts in three innings in his only appearance during intersquad competition. He is the first Southern Miss player to make a USA national team since Tony Phillips in 1991.

Waldrep, a freshman right-hander from Thomasville, Ga., has entered the transfer portal after one season at Southern Miss. He has yet to announce his new school. He allowed three hits and no runs with three strikeouts in three innings in one intrasquad game.

Bianco, who just finished his 22nd season at Ole Miss, was also the pitching coach for the 2013 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He has been named the National Coach of the Year by several organizations. Bianco led the Rebels to a 42-23 record, a 10-1 record in the NCAA Tournament and a sweep of Oklahoma in the best of three national championship series. Bianco is the third winningest SEC coach in history with a career record of 854-485-1 in 22 seasons with one national title, two College World Series appearances, eight Super Regional appearances and 18 NCAA Tournaments. Ole Miss is one of four teams in the country to have at least 40 wins in the last four seasons, not counting the 2020 covid year.

Drew Bianco, the youngest of Mike’s three sons, finished his fourth season at LSU and announced Wednesday he is transferring to Houston. Bianco will serve as the bullpen coach for the national team.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Barksdale served as the bullpen coach for the national team in 2019 and was a coach for the 14U national team development program from 2016-2018. He was an assistant coach at East Tennessee State for four seasons and at Louisville for five seasons under former Ole Miss assistant Dan McDonnell. Barksdale played MRA in the late 1990s and then played college for Holmes CC and Ole Miss. He played two years in the minor leagues in the Atlanta Braves system.

Team USA will travel to the Netherlands this week to compete in the Honkbalweek Haarlem against other countries. The first game is against Japan Saturday at 7 a.m. Central. Team USA is scheduled to also play Italy Cuba, the Netherlands and Curacao in group play. All games will be live streamed on

There were three players with Mississippi ties – Jackson Prep alumnus and Ole Miss freshman pitcher Mason Nichols, Madison Central High alumnus and Stanford freshman outfielder-pitcher Brandon Montgomery and Lewisburg High alumnus and Arkansas freshman pitcher Brady Tygart – were among the 50 players to be invited to the tryouts but didn’t make the 26-player team.   Nichols allowed one hit and no runs with four strikeouts in three innings in two intrasquad games. Montgomery hit .125 (1 for 8 at bats) with one run scored and a double and allowed three hits and one run with five strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings and played in four games. Tygart allowed no hits and no runs with two strikeouts in one inning.