FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Twenty-nine home games and seven opponents that appeared in last season’s NCAA Tournament highlight the 2012 Southern Miss baseball schedule which was released Wednesday afternoon by Golden Eagle coach Scott Berry.
“It is a challenging schedule with the club that we have,” said the third-year coach, who looks to replace four position-player starters and his entire pitching rotation and closer heading into the campaign. “Also, with the games that we have out of conference, including seven games with the SEC, it certainly strengthens our schedule. Troy will certainly be a good test – a team that beat us two out of three at their place last year. We have pretty much stayed consistent with the opponents that we have played in the past.”
The schedule features 18 games against teams that reached postseason play last spring, including three games versus Troy (Feb. 24-26 at home), a pair against Alabama (Feb. 29 at home, Mar. 13 on road), three games each against Rice (Mar. 30-Apr. 1 on road), Alcorn State (Apr. 5-7 at home), UCF (Apr. 13-15 at home) and East Carolina (May 11-13 at home), as well as a single meeting with Mississippi State (Apr. 24) at Trustmark Park in Jackson.
The schedule also features Southeastern Conference members Auburn (March 4 at Auburn), Ole Miss in Oxford (Mar. 20) and at Trustmark Park (Apr. 3) and LSU in the Wally Pontiff Classic, Apr. 11, at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La.
While the season opens Feb. 17, against Nicholls State for the first of three contests that weekend, the Golden Eagles’ Conference USA slate again will be a tough one for the Golden Eagles, which captured a share of the league title last spring.
“Within our conference, it has continually gotten stronger and has maintained the fact that it is the fifth-best league in the country RPI-wise. It has become a league that has established a lot of parity from top to bottom.
“At one time where you had your five elite teams that were always at the top, now in any given year there can be another team that can take that place as there is a lot of potential in this conference with people being at the top.”
The Conference USA tournament will again be held in Pearl at Trustmark Park from May 23-27 with the top eight squads making the event.
The Golden Eagles have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine seasons and 12 times overall and made its first-ever appearance at the College World Series in 2009.