Baseball Entertains Rice in C-USA Opening Series This Weekend

Mason Robbins expected to get the call for the Eagles on the mound on Saturday.

Mason Robbins expected to get the call for the Eagles on the mound on Saturday.

March 21, 2013

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss baseball team opens Conference USA play this weekend when they entertain nationally ranked Rice for three games at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.

The games are set for 6 p.m., Friday, 2 p.m., Saturday and 1 p.m., Sunday. All three games can be heard on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network with flagship station WKZW-FM, 94.3, carrying the action in the Hattiesburg/Laurel area.

Heading into the weekend, the Golden Eagles look to rebound from a 4-3, 11-inning loss to Auburn in Mobile on Wednesday, as they now sport an 8-12 record on the year. The Owls, meanwhile, rank No. 24 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and come to the Pine Belt with a 16-7 record after defeating UTSA on Wednesday, 11-5.

In last year's meetings between the two teams, the pair split four games and the Golden Eagles ended their season with a 4-2 decision over the Owls in the 2012 C-USA Tournament in Pearl. Overall, though, Rice leads the series 16-9 which dates back to the 2006 campaign.

The opening game on Friday features a great pitchers' duel between a pair of righthanders, Golden Eagle Andrew Pierce and the Owls Austin Kubitza. Pierce enters the game with a 4-1 record and a 1.91 earned run average with 43 strikeouts and only four walks over 37 2/3 innings, while Kubitza is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA to go along with 53 strikeouts and 17 walks over 33 innings.

On Saturday, lefty Mason Robbins (1-2, 5.09 ERA) faces Rice's righthander Jordan Stephens (2-2, 2.85 ERA). In the finale on Sunday, right-handed pitcher Conor Fisk (1-1, 1.12 ERA) takes the mound for Southern Miss against Owl righty John Simms (4-1, 1.38 ERA).

Senior catcher Chase Fowler continues to lead the squad in hitting for Southern Miss with a .345 batting average, while freshman first baseman Tim Lynch is hitting .314 and senior second baseman Isaac Rodriguez holds a .303 mark.

Following the weekend series, Southern Miss returns to action Tuesday when they entertain South Alabama for a 6 p.m., contest.

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