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.