Southern Miss opens conference tourney

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles begin Conference USA Tournament play today.

USM opens play at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The Golden Eagles won two of the three meetings against UAB in a series held April 2-4. They lost the first contest, 7-2, before winning the last two, 3-0 and 3-2 respectively.

The Golden Eagles are serving as the host for the tournament, which is being played at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field on USM’s campus.

USM enters the tournament having played well of late. The Golden Eagles are winners of 13 consecutive games, a streak that started with a 10-7 win over the University of Texas at San Antonio, April 26.

The Golden Eagles closed out the regular season Saturday with a doubleheader sweep over Middle Tennessee State on the road with 13-11 and 8-4 victories.

During the regular season, the Golden Eagles tallied a 35-16-1 overall record. The team finished with a 19-10 mark in Conference USA play.

That tied them with Florida Atlantic for the conference’s second-best record. Florida Atlantic gets the No. 2 seed in the tournament since the first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition. Florida Atlantic took two-of-three from USM. The Golden Eagles are seeded third.

Rice captured the Conference USA regular season title with a 22-8 record, which was two games better than USM and Florida Atlantic.

The double-elimination tournament begins at 9 a.m. today with fifth-seeded University of Texas at San Antonio facing fourth-seeded Middle Tennessee.

One of their players is 2011 Franklinton graduate Clay Tageant, who has taken advantage of his opportunities.

Tageant has appeared in six games out of the bullpen, and has no win-loss record. He’s compiled a 2.57 earned run average over seven innings, which covers six appearances. In the seven innings, Tageant has allowed two runs on six hits. Tageant has struck out five and walked one.

Southern Mississippi’s pitching staff has a 3.17 earned run average this season.