Nov. 9, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss Head Baseball Coach Corky Palmer has announced the signing of Wendell Fairley, a 6-2, 175-pound, outfielder from George County High School in Lucedale, Miss., to a letter of intent and grant-in-aid for the 2007-08 academic year. This marks the second signing of the early signing period for the Golden Eagles.
"Wendell is one of the top players in the state of Mississippi and will make an immediate impact with our program," Palmer said. "He is probably the best athlete we have signed since I have been here. He has outstanding speed, can hit the ball to all parts of the field, can hit for average and has excellent power from the left side. I'm excited that he has decided to come to Southern Miss and become part of our baseball program."
Fairley was a first-team all-state selection as a junior and second-team honoree as a sophomore. He is a two-time team's most valuable player, was a two-time first-team All-District 7-5A honoree and was selected to play in the State Games of Mississippi for the past two seasons. He helped George County to an appearance in the second round of the state playoffs last year.
As a junior last season, he hit .451 with seven doubles, six triples, six home runs and had 31 RBIs. He was 20-of-20 in the stolen base category, had a .551 on-base percentage and an .857 slugging percentage. He was 5-4 with a 2.07 ERA in 50.2 innings pitched. He struck out 68 batters, pitched two shutouts and had five complete games to his credit and held opponent hitters to a .175 batting average.
As a sophomore, Fairley hit .404 with eight doubles, seven triples, seven home runs and 40 RBIs. He finished with 12-of-13 stolen bases, had an on-base percentage of .529 and a slugging percentage of .817. He finished with a 1-1 record with three saves and a 0.39 ERA in 14 innings pitched. He struck out 14 batters and only walked six.
The Golden Eagles return 17 letterwinners, including five starting position players, two starting pitchers, and six bullpen pitchers from last year's squad that finished 39-23 overall and tied for fourth-place in Conference USA and advanced to its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament. The Golden Eagles have produced a 172-79 record over the past four years for a 68.5 winning percentage.
Southern Miss opens its 2007 season at home hosting the Coca-Cola Classic on Feb. 16-18. Louisville, Northwestern (La.) State and Southern Illinois join the Golden Eagles to complete the field for the classic.