USM staff happy with MCC success
By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
May 23, 2003
NEW ORLEANS Current Southern Miss Golden Eagles and Meridian Community College alumni, both coaches and players alike, were all too happy to weigh in on the MCC Eagles current shot at a Junior College World Series crown.
Coach Mike Federico and his Eagles are currently in Grand Junction, Colo., and former MCC head coaches Corky Palmer and Scott Berry; now the leaders of the Southern Miss Golden Eagle squad had reason to be doubly happy, because of the current success of their present and past schools.
And anytime you talk to those coaches about MCC baseball, words like tradition are bound to come up.
Reserve third baseman Adam Smith said he thought it was "awesome that they are getting to go back." Smith, who was All Miss-Lou, All Region 23 and an NJCAA All-Star, seemed to be just as excited about MCC as he was about being in the driver's seat of this tourney. "When I was there, that was our ultimate goal to go and get the program back where it belonged in Grand Junction. That's great for them."
Berry, who has been to the mountains many times himself, echoed the sentiments of pride and tradition. "There's a lot of history there, so I am just real proud of coach Federico for taking those young men where Meridian needs to be."
Thursday saw the field of eight whittled to six at the 2003 Conference USA Baseball Tournament. Both the Charlotte 49ers and the Texas Christian Horned Frogs went home early after losing in the morning and afternoon elimination games, respectively.
Pirates oust Charlotte
The East Carolina Pirates ousted the 49ers in the morning affair 8-5, while the No. 2 seeded TCU Horned Frogs were the victims of an early blitz big by the South Florida Bulls. USF (31-26) jumped out to an early 8-1 lead and held on for the 10-6 win. The 18-hits marked the second-highest total for them, and it marked the second straight year that pitcher David Asten has put TCU out.
Bang, bang plays:
USM snapped the C-USA tourney trend of the first team scoring going on to win. Before Thursday's 7-2 win, every team that had scored first had gone on to win. Houston third baseman Hyung Cho drove in Michael Bourn to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but USM responded with seven unanswered in the nearly three-hour affair The Catch of the Day easily belongs to centerfielder Jeff Cook.
His back-to-the-plate-over-the shoulder grab at the warning track robbed Houston second baseman Cole Bruce of a home run that would have pulled the Cougars to within 4-2, instead it set the tone for a four-up, three down frame
Bourn was the bright spot for the Cougars, going 3-for-4, to extend his hitting streak to eight games. But in the sixth inning, USM catcher Brad Wilcutt gunned him down on his attempt to steal second.
Hosts burn the midnight oil: The opening night of the tournament saw Tulane stay up late to deliver a 4-3 win over South Florida. Because of rain delays, their game with South Florida did not begin until just before 9 pm and it did not end until 11:41 pm.
USM coach Corky Palmer.