April 17, 2012
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss baseball team looks to snap a two-game losing streak when they travel to Mobile, Ala., Tuesday, to face South Alabama in a 6:30 p.m., contest at Eddie Stanky Field.
The Golden Eagles dropped the final two games of their league series to No. 13 UCF over the weekend after winning the opener 1-0 in 14 innings on Friday.
The Golden Eagles (20-15) now look to avenge a 5-3 loss in March at home to the Jaguars (13-23) when the two teams renew their rivalry for the 84th time. The Jaguars snapped a three-game losing streak to Southern Miss in that earlier meeting and hold a 54-29 overall mark in the series.
Junior Isaac Rodriguez has led the Golden Eagle offense as of late, having hit safely in his last seven games and batting .429 over that span (12-for-28). That total includes a stretch of seven hits in 14 at bats last weekend against the Knights. The Weston, Fla., native has seen his average rise to the second-highest on the team at .333.
Freshman Mason Robbins continues to lead Southern Miss with a .357 batting mark, while Dillon Day is at .314 and Ashley Graeter is hitting at a .313 clip. Junior Blake Brown paces the club in both home runs (six) and runs batted in (32) in 2012.
Redshirt freshman Michael Sterling continues to get on base as well after establishing a school record on Sunday by being hit by a pair of UCF pitches. The Meridian, Miss., product has been hit 23 times, passing Kevin Coker, who was plunked 21 times in 2006. Sterling is tied for the C-USA lead with UCF's Ronnie Richardson as tops in the league as both were hit twice in the series finale.
The Golden Eagles are expected to go with freshman right-handed pitcher Taylor Nunez against the Jaguars. Nunez has posted a 1-3 record this season with a 3.86 earned run average. He has fanned 14 and walked 10 in over 21 innings this season. This will be his fifth starter of the year.
The Jaguars will counter with junior righthander Payton Gardner, who has posted a 0-2 mark with a 5.96 ERA.
Following the road contest at USA, the Golden Eagles return to action this weekend when they entertain Memphis in a league series. Game times for the series are 6 p.m., on Friday, noon on Saturday and at 1 p.m., Sunday.