The SEC conference has ended Southern Miss’s season in baseball three out of the past four seasons. In 2017, a heartbreaker to Mississippi State, in 2019 to LSU and last season to Ole Miss.
This season, Southern Miss has a chance to rewrite the script by beating all three of those schools and be on their way to the College World Series in Omaha.
In this historic season for the Golden Eagles, they shut down the defending national champions, Mississippi State, 7-1 in Pearl in March. Then, they split the season series with Ole Miss 1-1 and now they are coming off of an incredible comeback to win their regional by winning three straight games, including two over LSU.
“Man, it’s just amazing you know, just being able to host a regional, I don’t know how many times we have hosted but just to do that was amazing,” first baseman Christopher Sargent said. “We dropped that first game to LSU, they came back late in the game. Hats off to them for never quitting and never giving up. We knew we had the pitching for it and we just fought our butt’s off every single game, and got it done.”
Last season, Southern Miss went to Oxford to play in the Oxford Regional and lost to Ole Miss in a winner-take-all game seven which ended their season. This time it will be in front of the Golden Eagle faithful and for a shot to go to Omaha.
“Thinking back to that time when we had to sit on the rail and watch them dogpile in front of us, it wasn’t a good feeling and definitely left a taste in our mouth. I think we are all ready to have our crowd here and just get after them,” Sargent said.
For six-year veteran Gabe Montenegro who has seen a lot of baseball, this series is a bit different to him. Southern Miss has had their season ended by SEC schools almost every season since he has been here. He discussed how big it would be to have Golden Eagle fans in the stadium instead of going on the road.
“They honestly play a huge role in every single game here in Hattiesburg. The fans are amazing, always cheering us on. Having that home crowd definitely gives us a big advantage,” Montenegro said.
Scott Berry has been Southern Miss’s head coach since 2010. He has never taken a team to a Super Regional or Omaha, but this year he gets his shot to rewrite his script. He is still moving forward with the same mindset he has had all season, one game at a time.
“I haven’t even thought about it. I have tried to stay with that game by game approach and just try and keep it as simple as I can and not try to get ahead of myself. I definitely don’t want the team to get ahead of themselves either. We just try to stay in the present,” Berry said.
Even though the Golden Eagles know what possibly lies ahead, they know it’s not going to be easy.
“It’s not going to be easy. They are not going to give up. They are not going to let up and we’re not either, I hope they know that. We’re going to come after them just like they are coming after us. At the end of the day, let the best team win,” Sargent said.
This weekend, it will all go down in Hattiesburg and you couldn’t ask for a juicier matchup. Southern Miss vs. Ole Miss in the Super-Regional for a right to go to Omaha.
For Southern Miss, they look to rewrite history and avenge the last few season’s heartache. For Ole Miss, they look to reach yet another CWS and show USM who the best team in Mississippi is.
This one is for all the marbles and you couldn’t ask for a better weekend in Mississippi.