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2019 Baton Rouge Regional Preview: Southern Miss

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The Golden Eagles make the short trek from Hattiesburg to Baton Rouge

USM Athletics

At A Glance

Record: 38-19

Conference: 20-10

Non-Conference: 14-9

Conference Finish: Tournament Champions, 2nd regular season

RPI: 45

RPI 50: 4-5

RPI 25: 2-3

SOS: 96

Southern Miss had a pretty up and down season, picking up some series sweeps and dropping even more weekend series, including their last three series of the regular season against FAU, Rice, and UAB.

And then the Golden Eagles ran rough shot over the C-USA Tournament, going 4-0 while outscoring opponents 26-9, picking up shutouts against Rice and FAU to close out the tournament.

If you’re looking for comparable opponents, the Golden Eagles went 4-4 against Ole Miss, Mississippi State, ULM, and ULL.

At The Plate

Bryant Bowen: .340/.576/.401, 65 H, 10 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 49 RBI, 18 BB, 28 SO

Matt Wallner: .324/.676/.440, 69 H, 12 2B, 21 HR, 55 RBI, 43 BB, 45 SO

Hunter Slater: .311/.513/.417, 71 H, 11 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 43 BB, 49 SO

Matthew Guidry: .300/.483/,469, 61 H, 13 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 44 BB, 39

USM has six hitters over the vaunted .300 line, and one (Danny Lynch) hovering at .299.

Wallner accounts for over half the team’s home runs with 21 while Bryant and Slater sit tied for second with 11. For comparison, Daniel Cabrera and Antoine Duplantis have 12 and 11 apiece.

The more I look at it, with the exception of Wallner, Southern Miss is built a lot like LSU. LSU has a slightly lower average across the board because of the stiffer pitching faced in the SEC, but both teams first and foremost are line drive hitting teams that put contact on the ball and don’t really strike out a lot.

So, depending on how you feel about LSU’s lineup, that’s either good or bad news.

On The Mound

Probable Starters

Walker Powell: 2.78 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 94 IP, 5.92 K/BB (71/12), .258 BAA

Stevie Powers: 3.45 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 4.07 K/BB (43/14), .262 BAA

Gabe Shepard: 2.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 25 IP, 4.20 K/BB (42/10), .170 BAA

Bullpen

Hunter Stanley: 2.75 ERA, .97 WHIP, 36 IP, 4.71 K/BB (33/7), .220 BAA, 4 SV

Sean Tweedy: 3.37 ERA, .99 WHIP, 34.2 IP, 2.90 K/BB (29/10), .197 BAA

Cody Carroll: 4.07 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 59.2 IP, 3.00 K/BB (48/16), .281 BAA, SV

Mason Strickland: 5.97 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 37.2 IP, 1.44 K/BB (13/9), .304 BAA

Also like LSU, USM has had some...fluidity in the starting rotation, Powell and Powers have 15 and 13 game started, but that third starter has been up in the air for a while. Gabe Shepard has recently taken over the third spot, but Strickland and Jared Wright both have five and six starts in addition to a slew of midweek guys.

At any rate, the Golden Eagles have some really great arms. It sounds like Gabe Shepard will pitch against Arizona State, saving Powell or Powers for a potential meeting Saturday. Not sure how they’ll match up against LSU, but the first seven innings or so are definitely going to be a fight. Once LSU can get into the bullpen there are some exploitable weaknesses (some relatively low K/BB ratios most notably).