By NEMS Daily Journal
PEARL – The only state team to make the College World Series field last year is on a serious tear as it heads into tonight’s game at Trustmark Park against slumping Mississippi State.
Southern Miss has won seven games in a row since a 7-2 loss at Ole Miss on April 20, sweeping a pair of Conference USA series in the process.
With Tuesday’s loss at Pearl, MSU (20-24) has lost seven games in a row.
The Golden Eagles (25-17, 8-7) have fought their way into the middle of the C-USA pack after losing each of their first three league series.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. tonight. First-year coach Scott Berry will send lefty Jeff Stanley (3-0, 6.57) to the mound to start, but will substitute liberally to keep his bullpen fresh for a weekend C-USA series against East Carolina. The Golden Eagles and Pirates are tied for fourth place in the league standings.
Southern Miss is fourth in the league in batting average (.320) and ERA (5.56). Senior second baseman Taylor Walker (.373, 7 HR, 47 RBIs) and sophomore shortstop B.A. Vollmuth (.358, 6, 43) are among the league’s top hitters.
Mississippi State’s starting pitcher is expected to be freshman right-hander Kendall Graveman (2-2, 7.09).
Last season, Southern Miss won this matchup 10-7 in Pearl and lost 7-6 in Starkville.