HATTIESBURG – For the second consecutive year, and first time in program history, the Southern Miss baseball teams will host an NCAA Super Regional.
And head coach Scott Berry and his Golden Eagles squad features several players from the “Southern Six” as USM vies for just its second trip ever to the College World Series.
Southern Miss hosts Tennessee this weekend starting Saturday at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field in the best-of-three Super Regional. Game time is set for 2 p.m., and can be seen via ESPNU as well as heard on an affiliate of the Southern Miss Sports Network. The remainder of the series has yet to be determined in terms of time and ESPN network but is scheduled for Sunday and then Monday if necessary.
The Golden Eagles (45-18) enter the weekend having won 23 of their last 26 games, including a 4-1 mark last weekend to capture the NCAA Auburn Regional including an 11-7 victory over Penn in the final. It marks the second straight season USM will host a Southeastern Conference squad in the Super Regional round, after Ole Miss swept the Golden Eagles in two games last year en route to winning the Rebels’ first ever College World Series title.
The Volunteers (41-19) won all three games in the NCAA Clemson Regional last weekend. UT makes their third-straight Super Regional appearance and fifth overall this weekend.
Vancleave’s Carson Paetwo has started over 50 USM games this season in the outfield. He ranks fourth for the Golden Eagles in batting average, as he is hitting.274 with 12 doubles, three triple and four home runs. The sophomore has also driven in 35 runs.
Gulfport High alum Blake Johnson, a senior catcher, is right behind Pateow in batting average as he is fifth on that list for USM at .258. He has seen action in 50 games this year, and notched eight doubles and five homers while driving in 16 runs.
West Harrison High’s Tate Parker has seen action in just under 40 games for USM and has five doubles and three home runs and has also driven in 16 runs. The junior, in his first season in Hattiesburg after helping guide Pearl River Community College to a national championship last season, has hit .324 but hasn’t met the minimum requirement of two plate appearances per game and 75% of games played by the NCAA to be considered for individual team honors.
Gabe Lacy, also a former Gulfport Admiral, is also in his first year at USM and has seen limited action since transferring from Tennessee Tech.
Also, former Southern Miss standout and Ocean Springs native Travis Creel is in his fourth season with the program as an assistant coach, who oversees the Golden Eagle offense as well as the architect for the program’s defense.
Creel was a member of the Golden Eagles for five seasons, lettering for the program from 2010-13, and playing in two NCAA Tournaments. He also was a redshirt freshman on the squad’s College World Series squad in 2009.
This Super Regional will be the first meeting between the two schools since the Volunteers swept a three-game series at Pete Taylor Park during the 1992 season. The two teams also played three games in Knoxville the year before in which the Volunteers won all three games before Southern Miss swept UT in a pair of midweek contests during the 1986 season.
Veteran USM head coach Berry is retiring upon completion of the season after a 14-year journey at the helm of the Golden Eagles