March 27, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss baseball squad continues its six-game road swing this weekend when they travel to Boca Raton, Fla., for a three-game series against Conference USA newcomer Florida Atlantic.
Game times for the series are 5:30 p.m., CT on Friday, 3 p.m., CT on Saturday and 11 a.m., CT on Sunday with all three games being played at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
The Golden Eagles (13-12 overall, 4-2 C-USA) look to continue their winning ways having captured six of their last eight contests, including a 5-3 decision over nationally ranked Ole Miss Tuesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl. Southern Miss coach Scott Berry registered his 150th victory leading the program against the Rebels. Berry has reached that win total quicker than the only other three baseball coaches at the school to get to that plateau, C.J. "Pete" Taylor (1959-83), Hill Denson (1984-97) and Corky Palmer (1998-2009), doing it in 256 games.
Southern Miss tries for its third consecutive C-USA series win to start league play, having taken two of three from both Marshall and UTSA to open conference play. The Golden Eagles currently are in a four-way tie for second place in terms of winning percentage along with FIU, UAB and East Carolina, and trail only Rice in the standings, who has started 8-1 in league games.
This will be the first ever meetings between the two schools in baseball with the Owls holding a 14-10 overall record and a 3-6 league mark this season.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles are off a 10-hit performance against the Rebels including a two-hit game for junior Matt Durst (Whitehouse, Texas) who raised his team-best batting average to .321, while junior Michael Sterling (Meridian, Miss.) collected three hits to up his hitting mark to .289.
Southern Miss will send the same trio of right-handed pitchers to the mound that the used last weekend with current C-USA Co-Pitcher of the Week, junior Christian Talley (Diamondhead, Miss.) getting the call in the opener with his 1-1 record and 2.12 earned run average. Senior Conor Fisk (Brown Deer, Wis.) looks to take the mound in the middle game, having posted a 1-1 record and a 2.70 ERA in 2014, while senior Cameron Giannini (Danville, Va.) starts the finale having registered a 2-1 record and a 3.47 ERA.
The Owls are set to counter with southpaw Austin Gomber (2-3, 3.92 ERA) on Friday, right-hander Jeremy Strawn (2-4, 3.55 ERA) on Saturday and righty Drew Jackson (2-0, 2.55 ERA) in the finale.
Following the FAU series, the Golden Eagles finish their road swing with single games at New Orleans on Tuesday and South Alabama on Wednesday. Game times for both of those contests are at 6:30 p.m.