April 24, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
The Southern Miss baseball team returns to action this weekend when they entertain nationally ranked and league leader Rice in a key Conference USA baseball series at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
Game times for the series are set for 6 p.m., Friday, 2 p.m., Saturday, and 1 p.m., for the Sunday finale. All three games can be heard on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network.
The Golden Eagles (25-17 overall, 13-5 in C-USA) currently sit in second place in the league standings, only a game and a half behind the Owls (29-14, 16-5). Southern Miss has won all six of its league series this season, including a three-game sweep of Louisiana Tech last weekend, and enter the weekend having won its last four games.
Southern Miss has also captured 13 of its last 18 games and starting pitching has been a big reason for that success. Over the last 11 games, Golden Eagle starters have posted a 5-0 record with a 2.73 ERA in 62 2/3 innings of work. That stretch includes three shutouts and Eagle starters have collected 50 strikeouts, while walking just 21.
As usual, the Owls boast a solid pitching staff that brings a staff earned run average of 2.50 to go along with six shutouts into the weekend.
Southern Miss will utilize the same rotation that they employed last weekend. Senior right-hander Conor Fisk (Brown Deer, Wis.) gets the nod in the opener. Fisk has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.29 earned run average, after throwing a complete-game shutout last weekend against Louisiana Tech.
Junior Christian Talley (Diamondhead, Miss.) will see the mound on Saturday and bring a 3-2 record to go along with a 2.11 ERA, while sophomore Cody Carroll should make his second consecutive C-USA start, bringing in a 3-0 record with a 3.27 ERA.
The Owls look to counter with the trio of right-hander Kevin McCanna (4-2, 3.11 ERA), southpaw Blake Fox (8-0, 1.30 ERA) and righty Jon Duplantier (1-2, 1.86 ERA), respectively.
Southern Miss looks to battle the Rice rotation with an offense that has batted .270 as a team over this current four-game winning streak. Junior Mason Robbins of Leakesville, Miss., who finished with a four-hit night in a road win at Alabama on Tuesday, belted the team's 19th home run of the season. His homer put this club already ahead of last year's pace of last year's total of 22.
Junior Matt Durst (Whitehouse, Texas) continues to lead the team in hitting with a .297 batting average, while sophomore Tim Lynch (Jupiter, Fla.) is next for the Golden Eagles at .293. Freshman Dylan Burdeaux (West Monroe, La.) ranks third on the squad at .267, while sophomore Nick Dawson (Bartlett, Tenn.) is at .259.
Following the Rice series, the Golden Eagles return to action on Wednesday, April 30, in the team's final midweek contest at Ole Miss. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.
Rice (29-14, 16-5) at Southern Miss (25-17, 13-5)
Friday, 6 p.m. - RH Kevin McCanna (4-2, 3.11 ERA) vs. RH Conor Fisk (4-1, 2.29 ERA)
Saturday, 2 p.m. - LH Blake Fox (8-0, 1.30 ERA) vs. RH Christian Talley (3-2, 2.11 ERA)
Sunday, 1 p.m. - RH Jon Duplantier (1-2, 1.86 ERA) vs. RH Cody Carroll (3-0, 3.27 ERA)