HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - As Southern Miss baseball rapidly approaches, coach Scott Berry looks to fill out his lineup for opening day against Murray State on February 14.
Berry knows he won’t have as much pop at the plate from a season ago – the Golden Eagles lose 45 home runs and 180 runs-batted-in – meaning he’ll lean on strong defense and pitching.
USM returns nine pitchers with experience and close to 300 innings. Preseason Conference USA selection Walker Powell and flamethrower Gabe Shepard highlight the returners but Berry’s been impressed with several newcomers as well.
“For the most part I feel like it’s probably the most depth we’ve had in a staff,” Berry said. “It’s not a vanilla staff in that everybody looks the same. We have some different options and some different looks we can go to throughout the game.”
“The way our group has worked this fall and spring so far, it’s a hard-working group,” said senior left-hander Josh Lewis.
“They all have the same mentality when they get on the mound,” said junior catcher Brian Davis. “They’re looking for outs and they’re kind of convinced that they’re going to go out there on the mound and get outs.”
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said pitching coach Christian Ostrander. “I always am, though. We’ve got a lot of experience back on the front end and the back end. I think we’re mixing in some good youth with it. We got a lot of freshmen that I’m very excited about. I think if we perform to our capabilities, we’ll be in a lot of ball games.”