Southern University, the No. 4 seed in the Starkville Regional, will play No. 1 seed Mississippi State noon Friday. This preview provides you with extensive details about the Southern University baseball team.
Southern University Head Coach - Kerrick Jackson is in his second year as the head coach at Southern. After going 9-33 overall and 6-15 in the conference in his first season, he has turned the program around this season, going 32-22 (18-6 Conference Record) and winning the SWAC Tournament Championship, the first time since 2009. For his efforts, he was named the SWAC Coach of the Year. Prior to being named as their head coach, he was an agent for the Boras Corporation for two years (2016-2017). He has also most recently been an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at two D-I schools, Missouri from 2011 to 2015 and Nicholls State from 2006 to 2007. Between coaching at Missouri and Nicholls State, he was a scout for the Washington Nationals from 2008 to 2010. He has also been an assistant coach at several smaller schools and junior colleges.
Key Players to Watch: The top starting pitcher for Southern is junior RHP Eli Finney. He has a 6-2 record and a 4.45 ERA. He defeated LSU earlier in the season 7-2. In 7 innings, he allowed one run on one hit and three walks while striking out seven. He also won two games in the SWAC Baseball Tournament, allowing five runs (three earned) on 12 hits and three walks while striking out 11 in 15.1 innings in his two outings. His tournament ERA was 1.76. The top relief pitcher for Southern is junior RHP Connor Whalen. In 17 appearances this season, he has a 4-0 record with nine saves. He has thrown 20.2 innings, giving up 3 runs (0 earned) on seven hits and 10 walks while striking out 18. Teams are hitting .108 against him. The top hitter for Southern is senior Tyler LaPorte, the SWAC Co-Player of the Year. He is hitting .389 with six home runs and 64 RBIs.
Starting Pitching - Southern has primarily used four starters during the year - junior RHP Eli Finney (6-2, 4.45 ERA), junior LHP John Guienze (3-1, 5.83 ERA), junior LHP Jerome Bohannon (3-5, 6.58 ERA) and senior RHP Justin Freeman (2-2, 6.93 ERA).
Finney is Southern's ace. He was an All-SWAC Second-Team selection this season. He has defeated LSU this season, winning 7-2 on April, 9th (which was his birthday). He has pitched in 14 games, starting 10. In 64.2 innings, he has allowed 40 runs (32 earned) on 65 hits and 23 walks while striking out 49.
Guienze has thrown in 11 games, starting seven. In 41.2 innings he has given up 35 runs (27 earned) on 51 hits and 10 walks while striking out 21.
Bohannon has thrown in 14 games, 10 starts. He has allowed 45 runs (39 earned) on 57 hits and 46 walks while striking out 34 in 53.1 innings.
Freeman has appeared in 14 games, 13 that were starts. He has thrown 49.1 innings, giving up 50 runs (38 earned) on 60 hits and 33 walks to go along with his 41 strikeouts.
Relief Pitching - The main relief pitchers for Southern have been senior RHP Connor Whalen (4-0, 9 Saves, 0.00 ERA), junior RHP Whilhelm Allen (2-2, 0 S, 4.38 ERA), sophomore LHP Austin Haensel (2-2, 1 S, 4.44 ERA), junior LHP Jackson Cullen (3-1, 0 S, 5.21 ERA), freshman RHP Rhett Hebert (3-1, 1 S, 7.31 ERA) and junior RHP Markaylon Boyd (0-1, 0 S, 7.71 ERA).
Whalen has thrown in 17 games. In 20.2 innings he has allowed 3 runs (0 earned) on seven hits and 10 walks while striking out 18. He was an All-SWAC First-Team selection.
Allen has appeared in 16 games this season. In 24.2 innings he has allowed 15 runs (12 earned) on 27 hits and 12 walks while striking out 20.
Haensel has thrown in 19 games, allowing 29 runs (24 earned) on 55 hits and 19 walks while striking out 30 in 48.2 innings.
Cullen has been in 15 games this season. In 19 innings he has allowing 17 runs (11 earned) on 26 hits and 10 walks while striking out 17.
Hebert has thrown in 22 games, giving up 27 runs (23 earned) on 35 hits and 20 walks while striking out 18 in 28.1 innings.
Boyd has pitched in 12 games. In 21 innings of work he has allowed 18 runs (all earned) on 24 hits and nine walks while striking out 11.
Hitters - Southern has eight players hitting at least .300 this season. Senior Tyler LaPorte is hitting .389 with six home runs and 64 RBIs. Senior Javeyan Williams is batting .388 with four home runs and 41 RBIs. Junior Hunter David is hitting .370 with two home runs and 34 RBIs. Next is senior Bobby Johnson who is hitting .347 with three home runs and 22 RBIs. Junior Johnny Johnson is hitting .347 with three home runs and 36 RBIs. Senior Malik Blaise is batting . 309 with one home run and 29 RBIs. Junior Hudson Hampton is batting .305 with two home runs and 31 RBIs. Also hitting over .300 is senior Ashanti Wheatley who is hitting .302 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. All but Williams hit from the right side.
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