Looking to the Future

Zach Irwin hadn't been to Ole Miss many times before committing to Rebel baseball last spring. But he's been on campus several times since then.

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"I'd never been except when I was up there in summers when I played," said the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder. "I've been to two or three (football) games this year, and a couple of baseball games last year."

One of the reasons he hadn't frequented the Ole Miss campus was that he grew up a Mississippi State fan. But that's changed now. Last weekend was his latest visit to his college of choice.

"We had a great time," said the left-handed pitcher from Madison Central who will sign with the Rebels during the November signing period. "Good weekend. Great weather. It was a good time."

Irwin said he sees a bond among the class that came in this fall at Ole Miss, ranked as high as No. 3 nationally. And he already senses that same type bond for his class that signs next month.

"I know a bunch of players from being up there and hanging out with (former Madison Central teammate and current Ole Miss freshman pitcher Josh) Laxer," Irwin said. "They're all really close. Really, really close. I know most of the people coming in for our recruiting class. We get along really well, and I'm excited about our group."

Zach Irwin
File Photo

He batted .398 as a junior at MCHS and had 10 home runs, along with 12 doubles and 40 RBI. He had an 8-1 record on the mound with a 1.48 ERA in 52 innings pitched, including four complete games.

Irwin, who is also a first baseman, has a strong arsenal of pitches, highlighted by a fast ball that he said he has "run up to 92 or 93" miles per hour.

He also has a curve ball, a slider, and a changeup.

Irwin said he always wanted to play in Mississippi, and that's why earlier this year he decided on the Rebels.

"I really wanted to stay instate," said Irwin, who also considered MSU and Southern Mississippi, along with LSU and Alabama. "But I just couldn't see myself going out of state for college."

He knows he might hear his name called in the MLB draft next June. But that's a long way from his mind right now.

"I've heard some," he said of his draftability. "But I'm not sure how that will go right now. We'll see."

Irwin has some immediate goals for his senior season.

"I hope to get Dandy (Dozen) at the beginning of the year," he said of the Clarion-Ledger honor. "And I'd like to win a state championship."

Irwin said the Jaguars are in a rebuilding stage, but that isn't anything new. He still thinks they'll be big winners.

"We lost basically all of our team, really," he said of Madison Central. "But we always lose a lot (of players from year to year), and we don't know how we'll be the first couple of games. We've got a couple returning, and we're working hard. We should be up there with everybody."

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