USM set to make history at home
By By Jared Florreich / staff writer
May 30, 2003
HATTIESBURG History will take place today at 3 p.m. as the second seeded Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles play in the friendly home confines of Pete Taylor Park against third seeded Southern University.
Some USM players felt snubbed being a two seed in their home regional. Southern Mississippi was the only host team not seeded first.
Today marks the first time USM has hosted a NCAA Regional. The Golden Eagles have had a record setting year, recording a mark of 45-14 and winning the C-USA regular season and C-USA Tournament.
Southern University (43-5) won the SWAC Tournament on May 4, but has not played a game since, a span of 25 days. The Jaguars did play against semi professional and community college teams to stay fresh.
The battle could be a high scoring one. USM and Southern University both hit well over .300, at .321 and .364 respectively. Both teams have players that can hit the ball out of the park, evidenced Thursday as players from each team hit multiple blasts out of Pete Taylor. USM's Clint King and Jeff Cook have 22 and 21 home runs respectively, while Rickie Weeks and Kevin Vital have bombed 16 and 15 each.
Weeks led the nation for the second straight year in batting average. He posted a .497 average this year, and led the Jaguars in nearly every offensive category. Weeks is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the best college baseball player. Many baseball experts think he will be the first player drafted later this summer.
Both Palmer and Cador said their teams can't rely only on the long ball.
USM will send junior Bob McCrory to the hill to face senior Dewon Day of Southern University. McCrory is 10-2 on the season with a 4.01 ERA. He has 80 strikeouts in 85.1 innings of work.
Day is 9-0 on the season with a 1.91 ERA. In 61.1 innings of work, he has 47 strikouts, and he has held opposing teams to a .215 average.
Top seeded Baylor (41-21) will take on fourth seeded Murray State (25-29) in the nightcap starting at 7 p.m.