Baseball Opens Conference Play This Weekend At TCU
Hattiesburg, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi (12-3) baseball team will enter Conference USA play this weekend when they travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on the (No. 24 BA, NCBWA, No. 25 USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll) TCU Horned Frogs (12-6) in a three-game series at Lupton Stadium/Williams-Reilly Field (3,500). Friday's game will start at 7 p.m, Saturday's at 2 p.m., and Sunday's at 1 p.m.
The series will mark the 14th meeting between the two schools, with Southern Miss leading the series, 11-2. Even though the Horned Frogs defeated the Golden Eagles, 3-1, to capture their first-ever Conference USA Tournament Championship, Southern Miss won the season’s series, winning all three regular-season games in Hattiesburg, Miss., 19-6, 4-3, and 9-5.
All three games will be broadcast on WKNZ-107.1 FM, with Lance Pittman and John Cox providing the play-by-play. The broadcasts will also be available online by going to SouthernMiss.com, clicking on the Audio/Video link, and going to the baseball schedule from there. LiveStats will also be available by clicking the LiveStats icon on the baseball homepage.
The Golden Eagles are coming off a weekend home series sweep of Arkansas State, 11-6 on Friday, 13-6 on Saturday, and 7-5 on Sunday. The midweek game at Louisiana-Monroe was postponed due to inclement weather. The Horned Frogs enter this weekend after dropping 2-of-3 in a weekend series at No. 11 Rice and dropping a 4-3 decision in 10 innings at No. 16 Baylor on Tuesday night. TCU won Friday, 2-1, but fell 15-5 on Saturday and 2-1 on Sunday.
Southern Miss is hitting .311 as a team, with 30 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs and 112 RBIs. The pitching staff has an ERA of 4.27, has struck out 114, and walked 38. TCU is batting .288 with 39 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, and 109 RBIs, and the pitchers have an ERA of 4.34 with 163 strikeouts and 82 walks.
Friday’s pitching matchup will pit Golden Eagle sophomore righthander Patrick Ezell against junior righthander Lance Broadway. Ezell is 2-0 with a 4.12 ERA. He has pitched 24 innings, given up 15 runs (11 earned) on 32 hits, struck out 20, and walked six. Opponents are batting .311 against him. In his last outing against Arkansas State last Friday, Ezell pitched 4.1 innings, gave up four runs on six hits, walked three and struck out four but didn’t factor in the decision.
Broadway, the Conference USA and Pro-Line Cap Company National Co-Pitcher of the Week, is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA, having given up eight runs (seven earned) on 19 hits in 29 innings of play. He has struck out 35, walked 13, and opponents are hitting .171 against him. He had an outstanding outing against Rice last Friday, pitching a complete-game three hitter in a 2-1 TCU victory.
Sophomore righthander Mike Cashion moves up a day in the rotation and will face TCU freshman right hander Sam Demel in Saturday’s game. Cashion is 2-1 with a 3.49 ERA, having given up 11 earned runs on 23 hits in 28.1 innings of play. He leads the team in strikeouts with 28, has walked seven, and opponents are batting .223 against him. He earned his second win of the season in his last outing against Arkansas State on Sunday, pitching 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, walking two and striking out six.
Demel (2-2, 4.50) has thrown 26 innings in five starts for the Horned Frogs. He has given up 17 runs (13 earned) on 30 hits, struck out 28, walked 15, and opponents are hitting .288 against him. He made the Saturday start at Rice last week and dropped his second decision of the year, giving up six runs, four earned, on eight hits in two innings of work, walking three and striking out one in Rice’s 15-5 win.
Junior lefthander Brad Owen will make his first career start for Southern Miss on Sunday against TCU sophomore lefthander Brad Furnish. Owen (0-0, 3.86) has pitched seven innings of relief in four appearances, giving up four runs (three hits) on eight hits, and has struck out seven and walked two. Opponents are batting .286 against him. His last relief appearance came against Arkansas State on Sunday, where he gave up two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings and struck out two batters.
Furnish is 2-2 with a 2.96 ERA. He has given up 10 runs (nine earned) on 16 hits in 27.1 innings, and has struck out 29, and walked nine. Opponents are batting .176 against him. He pitched a complete-game in the third game of the Rice series on Sunday, pitching eight innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits, walking three and striking out six batters in the Owls’ 2-1 win.
Southern Miss is led offensively by junior first baseman Marc Maddox, who is batting .379 with 22 hits, five doubles, five home runs, five stolen bases and 20 RBIs. Freshman Trey Sutton is batting .365 from the plate, with 23 hits, two doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 10 RBIs. Senior third baseman Beau Griffin is hitting .349, with 22 hits, three doubles, one triple, one home run, and 14 RBIs, and redshirt freshman leftfielder Drew Carson is batting .345 with 19 hits, two doubles, one home run, and seven RBIs.
The offense for TCU is led by freshman catcher Andrew Walker. He is hitting .404 with 23 hits, two doubles, three home runs, and 12 RBIs. Senior outfielder J.J. Estrada is hitting .379 from the plate, with 22 hits, two home runs, and a team-high eight doubles and 14 RBIs, while sophomore infielder Shelby Ford is batting .344 with 22 hits, four doubles, one triple, one home run, and 12 RBIs.
Following the series at TCU, the Golden Eagles will travel to Mobile, Ala., to face South Alabama on Tuesday at Stanky Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. The next day, Southern Miss will return home to Hattiesburg to host Mississippi Valley State in a 6:30 p.m. contest. After Wednesday’s game, the Golden Eagles then will host the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first conference home series of the season, at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field. Friday’s game will begin at 6:30 p.m., Saturday’s at 3 p.m., and Sunday’s at 1 p.m.