HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss enters the final stretch of the regular season as just seven games remain before the Conference USA tournament begins on May 22.
The Golden Eagles (31-15, 18-6 C-USA) visit Rice (21-27) in a three-game series beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
It’s a point in the year where a deep pitching rotation serves an advantage with tired arms after 46 games. Pitching coach Christian Ostrander believes USM has depth.
Two of Ostrander’s main goals for a staff are to limit walks and runs. Southern ranks second in the C-USA having allowed just 153 walks and leads the league with a 4.26 earned-run-average.
"[I] just really try to instill in them the confident attitude of attacking the hitter,” Ostrander said. “Trust your stuff. What you have is what you have, you’ve got to believe it’s better than that guy in the box. If you don’t have conviction and trust in that pitch, you’re probably not going to be successful."
"Coach Oz really stresses pitch to contact,” said USM junior left-hander Sean Tweedy, who holds a 6-1 record and 4.18 ERA this season. “It’s nine against one out there. The chances of him getting a hit is really slim, obviously. So rather than beat around the bush, try to get him to swing at something, just go right at him and you have no fear.”
"He says all the time, ‘Don’t give the hitter too much credit,’” said USM junior right-hander Hunter Stanley, who leads the team with a 2.67 ERA. “Just go in there and attack and trust your plan. [If] one guy goes in and doesn’t have his best stuff, the next guy goes in and picks him up.”