After winning the C-USA tournament and receiving the automatic bid for the NCAA tournament it was announced on Monday that Southern Miss will compete in the Baton Rouge Regional.
Southern Miss (38-17) will be the No. 3 seed and will open against Arizona State (37-17) the No. 2 seed on Friday at noon. LSU (37-24) the No. 1 seed will play Stony Brook (31-21) the No. 4 seed at 7 p.m.
For LSU, their game against Stony Brook will be a rematch of the 2012 Super Regional where the Seawolves upset the Tigers. While for Southern Miss it will be the third time in school history that the Golden Eagles will play in the Baton Rouge Regional with the previous times back in 2004 and 2008.
Stony Brook also shares some familiar history with Southern Miss. The two schools were scheduled to play against each other back in 2017, but due to Mississippi’s then recently passed Religious Freedom Bill the two teams did not play. New York’s governor passed an executive order of banning all non-essential state travel to state’s that passed similar laws. The Golden Eagles were forced to schedule UT-Martin instead.
It’s the fourth straight berth to the NCAA tournament for Southern Miss, but instead, Southern Miss coach Scott Berry finds that his current team resembles the 2009 College World Series team which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
“We felt like right where we were in ’09, how we ended the year in the regular season was how we ended up basically with this team,” Berry said. “Then we got in our tournament in ’09 and had momentum and felt like we couldn’t get beat. I really felt like it was the same thing with this team. The only difference was we lost to Rice in the championship, and this year we were able to win that title.”
The Sun Devils finished fifth in the Pac-12 after starting the season 21-0. Offensively, Arizona St. led the nation in home runs at 92 and were second in the nation in total runs at 548. However, the Sun Devils post a 4.59 ERA team. Arizona St.’s weekend rotation has featured Alec Marsh as the Friday starter, who posts a 3.17 ERA. Boyd Kooi Vander, who has a 5.26 ERA, has been featured mainly as the Saturday starter, but the Sun Devil pitching staff has seen a rotating door for the Sunday starter. Sam Romero, who has a 4.33 ERA, has started on Sunday the last two of three weekends but has not gone past the second inning in his outings.
Who Southern Miss starts on the mound is still yet to be determined after Walker Powell and Stevie Powers pitched on Sunday and received just three and two days of rest.
“I woke up this morning thinking about that scenario,” Berry said. “We don’t [know] yet. We still have three days to figure that out and we’re going to take our time. Certainly, we’re going to protect our student-athletes and not push them, but on the same hand, we’re going to make the best decisions that enable us to win. We’ll get together as a staff and figure that one out later.”
The Baton Rouge Regional is paired with the Athens Regional which features Georgia, Florida Atlantic, Florida State and Mercer.
The Southern Miss-Arizona St. game will be streamed on ESPN 3.
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