HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WLOX) - Southern Miss baseball just might have the right arms to repeat as Conference-USA champs.
To start the 2020 season off, they’ll give the starting pitching duties to a guy whose fastball clocked in at 97 miles per hour, ending his 2019 season victorious over Arizona State in the Baton Rouge Regional, sophomore righty Gabe Shepard. Head Coach Scott Berry seems to have full confidence in Shepard's abilities after tossing 12 strikeouts in a combined no-hitter against Rice in last year's C-USA Tournament.
On Saturday, senior righty Walker Powell will be at the bump, followed by freshman left-hander Chandler Best Sunday.
That’s just the starting rotation for this weekend. With seniors Hunter Stanley, Sean Tweedy, and other talented underclassmen, opposing teams will have a tough time at the plate against USM.
“I’m cautiously optimistic. I always am though. We’ve got a lot of experience coming back on the front end and the back end and I think we’re mixing in some good youth with it," Pitching coach Christian Ostrander said. "
We’ve got a lot of freshman that I’m very excited about and so I think if we perform to our capabilities, we’ll be in a lot of ball games.”
“The way our group has worked this fall and the spring so far, it’s a hard working group," senior pitcher Josh Lewis said. Lewis is a former Gulf Coast Bulldog.
“They all have the same mentality when we get on the mound,” junior catcher Brian Davis said.
“They’re looking for outs and they’re kind of convinced that there going to go out there on the mound and get outs.”
Head Coach Scott Berry said this is the most depth they’ve had in a pitching staff and have a number of options they can go to throughout games.