Southern Miss Opens 2018 Season with Mississippi State in Weekend Three-Game Set
Stats: Southern Miss – Mississippi State
Radio Network: Hattiesburg (WXHB-FM, 96.5; 97.7 and 104.5 HD2), Jackson (WJDX-AM 620), Columbia (WFFF-FM, 96.7), Pascagoula (WPMO-AM 1580), Southern Miss Gameday App (free), Tune In
Live Stats: Friday – Saturday - Sunday
Webstream ($): Friday – Saturday - Sunday
Pitching Probables (Southern Miss vs. Mississippi State):*
Friday - RH Nick Sandlin, Jr. (10-2, 2.38) vs. LH Konnor Pilkington, Jr. (8-5, 3.08), 4 pm
Saturday - LH Stevie Powers, Jr. (3-0, 5.13) vs. LH Ethan Small, RSo. (Did not for MSU), 1 pm
Sunday – RH J.C. Keys, Jr. (3-3, 5.56) vs. RH Jacob Billingsley, RSr. (2-3, 4.78), 1 pm
* Stats from 2017 season
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Billed by many as the top season-opening weekend series, a pair of nationally ranked squads in Southern Miss and Mississippi State open their respective seasons at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field for a three-game set in the Mississippi Farm Bureau Classic.
According to Baseball America, the Golden Eagles enter the weekend as 21st-ranked team in the country, while the Bulldogs enter play ranked No. 23 by the media outlet.
The Golden Eagles and Bulldogs play a 4 p.m., single game on Friday, before completing the set with 1 p.m., contests on both Saturday and Sunday. The entire series has been sold out, marking seven-consecutive sellouts for the program. The games can be heard on one of the affiliates of the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network or view a webscast at C-USA.tv. (Please note there is a fee for all three games this weekend).
Southern Miss enters the season off the heels one of its most successful campaigns that saw the program win a school-record 50 contests, win the Conference USA regular season and play host to its second-ever regional at The Pete.
Southern Miss returns seven position player starters from a season ago, including reigning national Freshman of the Year Matt Wallner, who batted .336 with 19 homers and 63 RBI. His home run total was the most by any freshman in the country a year ago, while his RBI total ranked second.
Junior Hunter Slater (.312/4/39) moves from the outfield to first base this season, while senior Daniel Keating (.261/11/31) is back as one of four Southern Miss players to hit double-digit homers a season ago.
The Golden Eagles also look to replace three starting pitchers from a season ago – Kirk McCarty, Taylor Braley and Hayden Roberts – who all opted for the chance to play professional baseball, instead of returning for their senior seasons.
Closer Nick Sandlin, who finished with a 10-2 record and a 2.38 ERA a year ago, will make his first start of his Golden Eagle career in the opener, while juniors Stevie Powers (3-0, 5.13 ERA) and J.C. Keys (3-3, 5.56 ERA) return to starting roles in the final two games of the series.
Following the MSU series, the Golden Eagles then hit the road for the first of a season-long, nine-game road swing starting Tuesday at South Alabama. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.