Southern Miss Baseball Finishes Regular Season at Marshall
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The 18th-ranked Southern Miss baseball team looks to wrap up its second-straight Conference USA title this weekend when the Golden Eagles conclude its regular-season schedule against Marshall in Beckley, W.Va.
The Golden Eagles (36-15 overall, 20-6 C-USA) play the Herd (19-28, 7-19) at Linda K. Eppling Field, marking the first time Southern Miss has played there. The series starts with a 2 p.m., CT first pitch, Thursday, and follows with a 1 p.m. CT game on Friday before the concluding the regular season with a 9:30 a.m., CT contest Saturday.
The Golden Eagles look to bounce back after losing back-to-back games for the first time this season, including a 14-9 setback to New Orleans Tuesday night at Pete Taylor Park, and have dropped three of their last four games.
Southern Miss remains in first place in the league standings by 2 ½ games, leading both Louisiana Tech and Florida Atlantic with three regular-season conference games left for each school.
Junior right-hander Nick Sandlin will get the call in the opener for Southern Miss. Sandlin has posted a 7-0 record this season in 12 starts and has fanned 114 batters, while having walked 14. His ERA, WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratios all rank in the Top 10 nationally.
Sophomore Walker Powell gets the call in Friday’s contest, bringing a 6-2 mark with a 3.60 earned run average. Ninth-year head coach Scott Berry is still undecided on the pitcher for the final game of the set.
Offensively, junior third baseman Luke Reynolds continues to lead the Golden Eagles offensive with a .392 average to go along with 18 doubles, 13 home runs and 54 runs batted in. His on-base percentage of .545 is in the top five of the country.
Sophomore Matt Wallner ranks seconds on the squad with a .348 average with 13 homers and 56 RBI, while Mason Irby, Hunter Slater and Matthew Guidry are all at .307 this season.
The Golden Eagles took two of three from the Herd in Hattiesburg last season and have won 11 of 12 league series with the Herd since they joined the league in 2006.
Following the Marshall series, the Golden Eagles travel to Biloxi, next week when they will compete in the 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship at MGM Park, May 23-27. The team opens play in a yet to be determined time on Wednesday.