After a historic run of winning 15 straight games, Southern Miss has hit a mid-year slump. They have won just three of their last seven games and have not looked the same as their dominant stretch.
A decrease in performance was likely due to building injuries to key performers. With Reece Ewing and Slade Wilks out for some of those contests, the Golden Eagles have had to find ways to win and haven’t achieved the result they have wanted.
Even with everything going against Southern Miss, they are still in good shape to win the C-USA regular-season title and host an NCAA Regional. That run all starts this week as they host the Ole Miss Rebels.
The Rebels, who knocked Southern Miss out of the NCAA Oxford Regional last season and who started the season hot, come into this game-winning five of their last seven, including a recent sweep of Missouri.
On April 5 in Pearl, Mississippi, the two teams faced each other, where fans saw Danny Lynch blast a three-run home run in the top of the eight to give Southern Miss the 10-7 victory.
If the game on Wednesday is anything like it was in Pearl, the sold-out crowd is in for a treat.
Scouting the Rebels
Ole Miss has been hitting the baseball very well lately, behind their leaders Kemp Alderman and Tim Elko.
Alderman bats a .313 with 42 hits and six homers, and Elko bats a .308 with 52 hits and 17 homers.
Southern Miss fans might remember Hayden Dunhurst blasted a three-run homer in the previous contest to give the Rebels the early lead.
He bats a .229 and has 24 hits and four home runs. Another name to know is Jacob Gonzalez; Gonzalez bats a .288 but follows Elko in home runs on the team with 14, including a big one against Mississippi State in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game on April 23
Right-hander Drew McDaniel will be called upon to start on Wednesday night. McDaniel has posted a 5.27 ERA and allowed 25 hits on the season.
He has appeared in 13 games, which will be his seventh start. He pitched five innings and gave up just two hits and two runs last week in the Governor’s Cup against Mississippi State.
Ole Miss posts a 4.70 ERA as a team and has allowed 386 hits and 206 earned runs.
Scouting the Golden Eagles
One of the recent problems for Southern Miss is that they can’t get base runners home to score, but they are still hitting the ball very well.
Shortstop Dustin Dickerson continues to lead the Golden Eagles offensively with a .340 average with a team-best 18 doubles and 26 RBI.
Behind Dustin Dickerson is Reece Ewing, who is still injured for an unknown amount of time.
First baseman Christopher Sargent (.245) and infielder Will McGillis (.292) are names Rebel fans need to be aware of. Sargent and McGillis lead the team with 15 home runs apiece.
If anything has been consistent all year for Southern Miss, it’s been the pitching staff.
Matt Adams will get the start for No. 14 Southern Miss against Ole Miss.
Adams has a 5.84 ERA credited to his line. He is making his second straight midweek start as he pitched against South Alabama last week.
In six innings pitched, he gave up four hits along with three runs and nine strikeouts.
Southern Miss has posted a 3.07 ERA as a team and allowed just 176 runs with 363 hits.
This game has been circled on the calendar for a while now, and Southern Miss needs this one to continue to keep its regional host hopes alive.
The game will be played in front of a sold-out crowd. Southern Miss is 11-1 in midweeks this season and looks to improve that record.
All the drama starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Pete Taylor Park.