Southern Miss finished the 2018 season with a 44-18 overall record, including an impressive three-game sweep of in-state rival Mississippi State on opening weekend. The team also finished with a Conference USA leading 23-6 record in conference play. This season, the Golden Eagles will play many of the marquee opponents they faced in non-conference play in 2018, including a three-game series at Mississippi State, two games against Ole Miss and a game at South Alabama. Additionally, the team has two home series against Purdue and Gonzaga, two programs that appeared in NCAA Regionals last year.
I think Southern Miss will finish with a similar overall and conference record than they did last year, probably 42 wins overall and 22 conference wins over the course of the season. The departures of Luke Reynolds and LeeMarcus Boyd hurt in terms of offensive production and the infield dynamic, but the talent that returns on this squad should be able to adapt and adjust. With a mix of seniors like Fred Franklin, Hunter Slater, Storme Cooper and Stevie Powers returning to join forces with the likes of junior Matt Wallner, redshirt sophomore Gabe Montenegro, freshman Danny Lynch, and junior Matthew Guidry and Walker Powell, this team is poised to make another NCAA regional appearance at the very least.
Southern Miss is coming off its best record in conference play (23-6) in program history along with its highest overall winning percentage in nearly six decades. Due to what seems to be a more rigorous regular season schedule ahead of them, I do not expect the Golden Eagles to duplicate their 44-18 record from a year ago. However, given the team’s recent success and added depth to both the offense and defense, I do expect them to win 20 or more Conference USA games and bring home a third consecutive C-USA championship. Just for the fun of it, I predict that the team will pull out 38 regular season wins in 2019. The most important factor will be who those wins are against. Coach Berry made a point to address the need for a strong RPI for teams with hopes of competing in the postseason. If Southern Miss can earn a decent number of impressive victories—especially in its five games against top 25 inner state rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State—then I believe they’ll finally be able to string together a strong enough resume to bring an NCAA Regional Tournament back to Pete Taylor Park.
Darrell Reese Jr
Southern Miss baseball finished last season 44-18 with a conference record of 23-6. The question is, can they capitalize off last season’s success or decline? The team was also 21-8 at home and 16-6 on the road in 2018.
For 2019, Southern Miss is looking to start their season off at home against Purdue on a three-game set. Purdue finished last season 38-21. Southern Miss is in for a tough road ahead, but with the experience in the locker room, they’ll be ready to compete with every team on the schedule.
Due to last season’s success against most teams on the schedule, Southern Miss is looking to be the favorites in most of their matchups. Troy is one team that will be tough, as the Trojans finished the season 42-21 and they are looking to start right where they left off.
For now, the schedule is looking to be in the Golden Eagles favor, and they will look to pick up where they left off last season. My prediction for their 2019 campaign is that the team will win 35 or more games this season.
Southern Miss is primed for another successful season, and if things go in their favor, talks of Omaha are not a wild dream. Southern Miss’ bullpen was probably the weakest feature for the team last year, but despite that, the team should reap the benefits as the bullpen garnered much experience last year, which should make it the high point of the team. The weekend starters are as good as any team in Conference, but whether or not they can compete nationally will be the true test. Stevie Powers and Walker Powell can be a scary duo for teams to face, and neither have to live up to the standard Nick Sandlin set. The bats can easily reproduce an explosive offense which has been an imperative part of the team’s success. The true test for Southern Miss will be the road weekend series against Mississippi State. This team overall returns a large group of experience and junior college talent that should be able to fill the roles. Conference USA will be tougher than the last season with Louisiana Tech and Florida Atlantic returning a lot of experience and Rice with the new coach hire. However, Southern Miss should rule C-USA again and lead them to another NCAA tournament berth.