April 18, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A crucial Conference USA series awaits the Southern Miss baseball team this weekend as they travel to face Memphis at FedEdPark for the final time as members of the same conference.
The series starts with a 6:30 p.m., contest on Friday and will be followed by a 2 pm., single game on Saturday and a 1 p.m., tilt on Sunday. All three games can be heard on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network including the flagship station, WKZW-FM, 94.3, in the Hattiesburg/Laurel area.
The Golden Eagles (19-17 overall, 8-4 C-USA) enter the contest having won eight-straight games, their longest streak since winning 12 consecutive contests in 2010. Southern Miss holds a first-place tie in C-USA play along with Houston, while Memphis (24-14, 7-5) sits just a game back in the standings.
Pearl, Miss. (Trustmark Park)
Golden Eagles Drop C-USA Tourney Opener to Memphis
Memphis designated hitter Eli Hynes went 2-for-4, including a 12-pitch double to start a nine-run seventh inning, as the fifth-seeded Tigers defeated No. 4 seed Southern Miss, 14-3, in a 10-run-rule-shortened eight-inning contest in game one of the 2012 Conference USA Baseball Championship presented by Trustmark on Wednesday at Trustmark Park.
Southern Miss leads the overall series with a 56-44 record and is 38-20 against the Tigers since joining C-USA. The Golden Eagles swept the Tigers in Hattiesburg last season in a set that saw a total of eight runs scored combined by both teams, before UofM defeated the Golden Eagles in the C-USA Tournament 14-3 in Pearl in late May. The Tigers captured two of three games at FedExPark during the 2011 campaign and the last USM series win over the UofM in Memphis came during the 2005 campaign.
Sophomore catcher Austin Roussel, who has reached base in his last eight at bats for the Golden Eagles, leads the team in batting average this season at .390 in limited play as he has missed 12 games during the year with a hand injury.
The Golden Eagles other catcher, senior Chase Fowler and current C-USA Hitter of the Week, holds a .330 batting average with a home run and a team-best 19 RBI, while Mason Robbins, who has the team's best current hitting streak of five games, has posted a .323 batting aver with seven doubles, two triples, a home run and 17 RBI.
The Golden Eagles also expect to keep the same pitching rotation that they have utilized the previous three weekends with sophomore lefthander Jake Drehoff (1-4, 3.57 ERA) getting the call in the opener, while senior right-handed pitcher Andrew Pierce (7-1, 1.83 ERA) is expected to throw Saturday and junior righty Conor Fisk (3-1, 2.38 ERA) set to take the mound in the finale.
Memphis will counter with three southpaws in their rotation and will start in the order of Sam Moll (6-2, 2.59 ERA), Erik Schoenrock (5-2, 2.03 ERA) and Alex Gunn (2-2, 2.30 ERA).
Following the weekend's action, the Golden Eagles return home next Wednesday, Apr. 24, for the first of a five-game homestand, when they entertain Alabama in a 6 p.m., contest at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
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