Feb. 22, 2007
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss baseball team takes to the road for the first time this season, participating in the Wiregrass Classic hosted by Troy in Dothan, Ala., on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 23-25. The Golden Eagles will face Georgia Southern on Friday at 2 p.m., Indiana on Saturday at 2 p.m., and Troy on Sunday at 2 p.m.
All Southern Miss games will be carried on the radio and on-line at www.SouthernMiss.com. Friday's and Sunday's games will be carried locally on WXHB-96.5 FM, and Saturday's game will be aired on WFOR-AM, 1400 "The Score". Lance Pittman will broadcast the games for the entire weekend. fans can also follow each game via GameTracker on-line at www.SouthernMiss.com.
Friday's meeting with Georgia Southern will mark the first meeting between the two schools. Southern Miss will face Indiana for the fourth time on Saturday and the Golden Eagles swept a three-game series at "The Pete" in 1990. The Golden Eagles faced Troy five times last season and won three of them, sweeping the regular season series in Hattiesburg. Troy won both games in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional at the end of the season to hold a 4-3 advantage.
Southern Miss enters the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record after winning the Coca-Cola Southern Miss Baseball Classic last weekend, defeating Southern Illinois, 9-0, Louisville 6-5 and Northwestern State, 10-7. The Golden Eagles won two midweek games against South Alabama, 6-1, on Tuesday, and 4-1 against New Orleans on Wednesday.
Georgia Southern enters the tournament with an 8-3 record, including key wins against No. 11 Georgia Tech, 11-4, and 9-6 and Jacksonville, 10-6. Indiana opens its season this weekend. Troy has posted a 5-3 record, including key wins over Alabama in extra innings and Arkansas.
The Golden Eagles will send Ryan Belanger to mound on Friday to face Georgia Southern's sophomore right-hander Drew Murray. Belanger is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in seven innings pitched against Southern Illinois in the season opener on Feb. 16. He struck out seven, walked one and the Salukis only hit .154 against him. Murray is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 14, walked 12 and opponents are hitting .240 against him.
On Saturday, Southern Miss' redshirt junior right-hander Barry Bowden will face Indiana freshman left-hander Danny Rosenbaum. Bowden made his first start on Feb. 17 against Louisville. He received a no-decision, pitching six innings, giving up three runs on five hits, walking one and striking out five.
In the final game of the tournament, Golden Eagle redshirt junior David Clark will face Troy junior right-hander Jeff Green. Clark made his first appearance on Feb. 18 against Northwestern State, pitching 1.2 innings, giving up three runs on two hits, walking three and striking out one and received a no-decision. Green is 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched. He has struck out nine, walked one and opponents are hitting .250 against him. In his last outing, he pitched three innings of relief on Tuesday night, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits and striking out one in Troy's 11-3 loss to Auburn.
Southern Miss is hitting .301 with six doubles, one triple and have stolen six bases. Georgia Southern is hitting .363 with 47 doubles, three triples and nine home runs. Troy is hitting .291 with 11 doubles, four triples and 10 home runs.
Southern Miss is led by sophomore shortstop Brian Dozier, who is hitting .474 with a double and three RBIs. Senior second baseman Bailey Hartel is hitting .400 with two doubles, two RBIs, and sophomore outfielder Luke Adkins is hitting .385 with three RBIs.
Georgia Southern is led by sophomore outfielder Phillip Porter, who is hitting .500 with three doubles and seven RBis. Sophomore catcher Griffin Benedict is hitting .438 with four doubles and seven RBIs, and freshman infielder A.J. Wirnsberger is hitting .436 with seven doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs.
Troy senior outfielder Kevin Weidlich is leading the Trojans, hitting .412 with a double, two home runs and nine RBIs. Sophomore infielder Brett Pierce is hitting .400 with two doubles and a home run, and freshman outfielder Steven Felix is hitting .389 with three doubles and two RBIs. Senior infielder Clint Robinson leads the team in home runs with four and RBIs with nine.
The Golden Eagles travel to Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m., before returning home to host Louisiana-Lafayette for the weekend series on March 2-4. Friday's game starts at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday's and Sunday's games at 1 p.m.