May 14, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
The Southern Miss baseball team renews an old Conference USA and Metro Conference rivalry starting Thursday with a three-game league series at Charlotte to end the school's regular season schedule.
The 49ers returned to C-USA this season after a nine-year hiatus and the two teams will play three single games, including a 5 p.m., CT contest on Thursday, a 2 p.m., CT affair on Friday and a 10 a.m., tilt Saturday to conclude both team's regular-season slate. All three games can be heard on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network.
With their win last Sunday against East Carolina to clinch their seventh C-USA series in nine tries this spring, the Golden Eagles (30-22 overall, 17-10 in C-USA) have now clinched their 28th winning season in the last 29 years and have posted their 13th-straight, 30-plus victory season.
The two teams meet for the first time in 10 seasons with the Golden Eagles leading the overall series 27-18. Southern Miss is 18-12 against the 49ers as a member of C-USA and 13-8 in Charlotte all-time, in a series that dates back to the 1987 campaign. Southern Miss has won six-straight in the series and 11 of the last 13 contests between the two schools.
The Golden Eagles need one victory in the Charlotte series to clinch no lower than a No. 3 seed in next week's C-USA Baseball Championship, May 21-25, which will be played at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field. The Golden Eagles have won six of their last nine contests overall, as well as nine of their last 15 tilts away from home.
Junior centerfielder Connor Barron (Hattiesburg, Miss.) is currently leading the Golden Eagles offense as he is enjoying the longest hitting streak of his career at eight games. He has batted .424 (14x33) over that span with two doubles, a home run and two RBI with nine runs scored while hitting mostly in the leadoff spot. Barron leads the Golden Eagles in batting average in C-USA games with a .347 mark (25x72) with six doubles, three homers and six RBI.
Fellow outfielder, junior Mason Robbins from Leakesville, Miss., is nine of his last 17 at bats (.529), while junior Matt Durst, a designated hitter from Whitehouse, Texas, leads the team in 2014 in batting average (.279), home runs (five) and RBI (35).
Coach Scott Berry's club will alter its weekend rotation against the 49ers. It will start with senior right-hander Conor Fisk, of Brown Deer, Wis., who has posted a 5-2 record with a 2.69 earned run average. Fisk is off a strong seven-inning showing last weekend against ECU, but did not figure in the decision in the 15-inning contest. Sophomore right-hander Cody Carroll (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) returns to the rotation for Friday's contest having collected a 3-1 record with a 3.64 ERA, while junior Christian Talley (Diamondhead, Miss.) makes his 13th start of the year having notched a 4-4 mark with a 2.44 ERA.
The 49ers look to counter with a trio of right-handers including Corey Roberts (3-4, 3.28 ERA), Ryan Butler (4-7, 3.84 ERA) and Brock Hudgens (3-5, 3.27 ERA), respectively, in the series.
After capturing a Tuesday night contest 5-4 over Winthrop, Charlotte has seen its record rise to 18-29-1 on the season and 9-17 in C-USA play. They will not be one of the top eight teams to reach the C-USA Baseball Championship next week.