The Southern Miss Golden Eagles have the home field advantage in the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional,having posted 24 wins and 6 losses at Pete Taylor Park.
Southern Miss was a prime time contender for one of the eight national seeds. They came very close.
The Golden Eagles have proven their ability, especially after losing to UTSA in game one of the Conference USA Championship Tournament at Biloxi last week. They would rip-off three consecutive wins and pulled out games when their backs were up against the wall.
Pitcher Kirk McCarty enters the regional with 10 wins and 2 losses, a 2.96 earned run average with 96 strikeouts. He says Southern Miss is ready for this year's regional, after gaining valuable experience in the Tallahassee Regional in 2016.
McCarty said, "We've got a lot of guys who have been here before. That's something we couldn't say for last year's team. I think it was everyone's first regional experience. So, a lot of our guys have been through this. They know what it's like, the pressure. They know the atmosphere we'll be playing under. This weekend was a good stepping stone for what we're going to have this Friday at Pete Taylor Park."
Anything can happen in Regional competition, and it will be interesting to see if the Illinois-Chicago Flames can put out the hot Southern Miss bats...who can launch home runs at a consistent rate. Illinois-Chicago ranks second in the nation with a 2.57 earned run average. The Golden Eagles rank 16th in the nation with a team batting average of .311 and launched 85 home runs.
In a three-game series with Vanderbilt of the SEC, Illinois-Chicago won two of three games. However, excitement will be at a fever pitch when the home standing Golden Eagles take to the field at Pete Taylor Park on Friday afternoon at 1:00.
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