USM coach Berry talks post-season play at NCAA regional press conference

USM coach Berry talks post-season play at NCAA regional press conference
USM Coach Berry talks postseason play/Photo credit: WDAM

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi will take on South Alabama during game one of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional starting Friday.

On Thursday, each of the four teams got a chance to practice, and the head coaches met for a joint press conference afterward.

"I know how hard it is as (other teams) do to get to this level, this time of year, the opportunity that we all hope for, coach you alluded to 300 teams trying to be one of of 64, and its really tough, its a grind," Southern Miss Head Coach Scott Berry said.

With a 40-18 record heading into regional play, its the Eagles' 13th appearance at an NCAA regional.

"Our record at date is 40-18, but tomorrow...its 0-0," Berry said.

Number 2 seed, Southern Mississippi's first hurdle is South Alabama (40-20), who they are 0-2 against this season.

The Jaguars, who are the number 3 seed, defeated the eagles 9-3 in Mobile, and 4-2 in Biloxi.

Despite the 18 loses on the season, the Golden Eagles' reputation is known across the league.

"So this is what coaches coach for, here we are in the post season, this is our goal, this is everyone's goal to get into the post season, and when you look at the post-season field, when our name came up, and it was Alabama State, Florida State and Southern Miss it was like...ehhhhh," University of South Alabama Head Coach Mark Calvi said.

Despite not playing each of the regional teams in the regular season, the Eagles certainly aren't unheard of.

"Halfway through the season, we are playing teams that have played Southern Miss, and I have one instance that I shook hands with the head coach, and we went over the ground rules and all he wanted to talk about how good Southern Miss was," Alabama State Head Coach Mervyl Melendez said.

Each coach bragged on their staff and players for their accomplishments in making it to the post season.

"The teams here are not intimidated, these people know how to play baseball, and we know its going to be a challenge for every team here," Florida State Head Coach Mike Martin said. "Like the coaches have said before, it's a new season, it's fun, it's what you strive to do when you start work in August."

"All the sacrifices that your players make for their teammates along the way makes this opportunity very very special," Berry said.

The Eagles are making their first appearances in the post season since 2011.

Southern Miss will start the left-hander, Kirk McCarty Friday, and South Alabama will start its first-team All-American Kevin Hill.

The game will begin at 11 a.m., noon Eastern, and be streaming on ESPN3.com and on the radio in Hattiesburg on WKZW-FM, 94.3.