03 Jun

in a word

If you had to assess Southern Miss with one word, it would be: pitching. The Golden Eagles have a deep and talented stable of arms that enters the Hattiesburg Regional with a 3.04 ERA, among the nation’s best. Tanner Hall was C-USA pitcher of the year and the state’s Ferriss Trophy winner. For LSU, the 2-seed in the regional, the word would be power. The Tigers raked 107 home runs, led by the remarkable Dylan Crews with 21. Army, the 4-seed, is mostly about speed. The Black Knights swiped 101 bases this season, led by Hunter Meade with 31. Kennesaw State is a curiosity. The Owls’ pitching is highly suspect; they don’t hit a ton of homers or steal a bunch of bases. But KSU does have Josh Hatcher, an All-America candidate who hit .386 with 13 homers, 55 RBIs and 60 runs and twice hit for the cycle in 2022. (Unfortunately, he doesn’t pitch.) USM (43-16, 22-10 at Taylor Park) does enough with the bats (.283, 77 homers) that it should prevail in the regional and make the Super Regional. But LSU, which didn’t have a typical season (38-20, 17-13 SEC), certainly poses a threat. In a published poll, four Gannett “experts” split between USM and LSU as the regional favorite. (All four picked Miami to come out of the Coral Gables Regional, where Ole Miss is playing. That regional champion plays the Hattiesburg champ in the Super Regional.)

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