HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Earlier this month, University of Southern Mississippi baseball coach Scott Berry said he had a pretty good idea what the Golden Eagles' opening-weekend pitching rotation was going to look like.
But Berry had kept that decision under wraps through the preseason, wanting to assure injury did not alter the plans and that the candidates continued to impress during the spring.
They did, and Thursday, Berry announced that junior right-hander Hayden Roberts will throw the first pitch of USM's season when the Golden Eagles open a three-game series with Northeastern University at 4 p.m. Friday at Taylor Park.
Junior left-hander Kirk McCarty, a Preseason All- Conference USA selection, will follow at 1 p.m. Saturday with true freshman Cody Carroll taking the mound for his first career start at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Roberts (0-0, 3.95 ERA), an Irvington, Alabama, native did not pitch until the latter part of the 2016 season while working his way back from arm surgery. He appeared in seven games, making his first career start in the championship game of the 2016 Conference USA Baseball Tournament, his second in the opening game of NCAA Regional in Tallahassee, Florida.
McCarty (8-1, 3.15 ERA), a 2016 All-Conference USA selection, appeared in 17 games, including 16 starts. The Oak Grove High School product struck out 89 batters while walking 27.
Carroll struck out 132 batters in 89 innings as a senior at Eustis High School in Mount Dora, Florida.
USM finished 41-20 in 2016, winning the conference tournament championship and advancing to its first regional in four years.
The Golden Eagles led C-USA offensively in 2016, leading the league in batting average (.305), runs (419), hits (622), home runs (67) and runs batted in (392).
Northeastern finished 31-27 last season under Coach Mike Glavine, winding up fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association.
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