New season presents new challenges for All-American Tanner Hall
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 11:35 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Tanner Hall proved a lot of doubters wrong last season with an All-American campaign.

But with the success comes challenges as the right-hander enters his junior season at Southern Miss.

“I’ve always been the underdog since I was young and I feel like that’s always way more fun is just coming out of nowhere and making a name,” Hall said. “It’s kind of what Southern Miss is. We really just come out of nowhere and I kinda feel like that identifies me.”

Hall’s underdog status is beginning to change after the 2022 season he put together.

A 9-3 record on the mound, 2.81 earned-run-average, 146 strikeouts to just 14 walks earned Hall the Ferriss Trophy and Conference USA Pitcher of the Year.

But Hall still plays with a chip on his shoulder that’s helped him become one of the best arms in the country.

“Numbers-wise it’s hard to duplicate that, I don’t care who you are,” said USM pitching coach Christian Ostrander. “That was like a Nick Sandlin year. The 140-something strikeouts to less than 20 walks. But I think he has that strike-throwing capability and he has an elite pitch with the sinker and the change-up and I think that slider. That third pitch being his slider, being able to utilize that more will be something that can let him continue to evolve.”

“I think there’s a million ways to improve my game,” Hall said. “I definitely feel like I have room to improve on my velocity, I always have. I never really have thrown that hard compared to other guys on staffs I’ve been with. Develop a better slider. I want it to be more reliable, is the word I would use because I feel like I’ve always had one but nothing I feel like I could always go to.”

Hall is receiving the recognition he deserved headed into the 2023 season, named to the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List and named a preseason All-American by D1 Baseball and NCBWA.

The notoriety also creates more of a spotlight when he takes the mound.

“Everybody that we play that prepares for him is going to have a game plan,” Ostrander said. “Like I told him already and I’ll tell him again is you got nothing to prove. Just go be you and do what you do and just let things fall into place.”

“I’m excited to have a target on my back,” Hall said. “That’s fun to me because I like having people compete against me, I like when somebody tries to stand up against me in the box because that gives me more reason to compete and I’m a competitor so I love it.”

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