Southern Miss Series Preview

Series don't get much bigger than this. The Houston Cougars will host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles this weekend with their postseason life on the line. Win this series and you keep your hopes of an at-large berth alive. Sweep this series and you feel pretty good about things. But if you lose this series, you can kiss those hopes goodbye.

The Eagles are a good team, but the last week has been a microcosm of how their season has gone. They got a decisive win on Tuesday night over a ranked Ole Miss team, but this past weekend, they lost a series to SIU-Edwardsville, an also-ran from the Ohio Valley Conference.

It's that type of inconsistency that has Southern Miss leading CUSA with a 14-7 record while also struggling along to a 27-23 overall record and an RPI of 111.

The Eagles offense isn't filled with big power bats, but they do feature a group of very solid hitters that do a good job of getting on base.

Leading the way is Isaac Rodriguez. The senior from Weston, Florida is hitting .350 with 26 RBI, a .444 on-base percentage and a team-leading 13 doubles.

Austin Roussel, in limited time this season, is hitting .356 with a team-leading .495 on-base percentage.

The leading RBI man on the team is Mason Robbins with 36. The Leakesville, Mississippi native is also hitting .326 with ten doubles.

Senior Chase Fowler is hitting .319 with eight doubles, three triples and 26 RBI. Dillon Day has a .307 average with 12 doubles and a team-leading ten stolen bases.

As I mentioned, Southern Miss isn't going to hit a ton of home runs, but they do have one consistent power bat in Blake Brown, who leads the team with seven home runs.

USM might have the luxury of the deepest pitching staff in the conference and it starts in the starting rotation.

Andrew Pierce, with a 9-1 record and a 2.37 ERA, is having a fantastic season. He has an 84/18 strikeout to walk ratio and opposing hitters have a .221 batting average against him.

Conor Fisk has a 4-2 record with a 2.61 ERA. Batters are hitting just .233 against him.

Jake Drehoff, a lefty from Alpharetta, Georgia, is 3-5 with a 3.88 ERA, but he is the most hittable of the three. Batters have a .276 average against him.

In the bullpen, the Eagles have a host of relievers with good numbers.

The versatile Nick Johnson leads the team with a 2.04 ERA. In 17.2 innings, he has 13 strikeouts and a .207 batting average against. Daniel Wineski, a junior transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, has a 2.20 ERA in 16.1 innings.

A.J. Glasshof has a 3.16 ERA over 11 appearances, including four starts. Jake Winston has a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings. Cody Livingston has a 4.42 ERA over 18.1 innings. Bradley Roney has a 4.72 ERA and leads the team with seven saves.

The Eagles lean hardest on Jay Myrick. The junior from Spanish Fort, Alabama has a 2.97 ERA, a .210 batting average against and 37 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.

The Cougars need a series win in the worst way, but it won't be easy against Southern Miss. The Eagles have a combination of talent and depth that makes them a tough matchup.

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