On the eve of USM’s third consecutive regional appearance, there’s an unwavering confidence that comes from winning both the Conference USA regular season crown as well as last week’s league tournament in Biloxi. Beyond that, Southern Miss is just plain good.
The Golden Eagles were by far and away the best team in C-USA this season, entering the Fayetteville Regional with an overall mark of 43-16. Perhaps the most impressive part of USM’s resume is the consistency, having lost back-to-back games just once in 2018.
Considering losing two in a row is what sealed their fate in last year’s Hattiesburg regional, the Black and Gold believe they now have the right makeup to emerge from this regional. USM Pitcher Walker Powell said, “We’re no stranger to big atmospheres and big stages, so I think we are kind of a group that thrives off of it a little bit. So I think I like our chances. I think we’re ready. I think we’re up for the challenge.”
USM head baseball Coach Scott Berry said, “This group has been a solid group, I feel like they’ve really played consistent baseball all year. There’s really been only one time where we’ve lost back-to-back, so that shows to me that we’re able to come back from losing. And just embrace the opportunity we have here in the Arkansas Regional.”
Two seed Southern Miss will get the ball rolling against three seed Dallas Baptist at 7 p.m. tomorrow on ESPN3.
When the Eagles take the diamond, they’ll be doing so with a pair of All-Americans in the form of Nick Sandlin and Luke Reynolds. Today, both players were named to the Collegiate Baseball First Team, joining Stetson as the only other school with two players on the first team.
Sandlin leads the nation with a 1.13 ERA, earning him first team honors with Baseball America as well. Reynolds gets the nod with the third team while Ole Miss closer Parker Caracci lands on the second team.
In the JUCO ranks, Mississippi Gulf Coast is well represented on the All-Region 23 Team by West Harrison’s Brandon Parker and Pascagoula’s Alden Davis. Parker had a banner season with the Bulldogs, leading the nation with 81 RBI’s and was second in the country with 24 home runs.