Southern Miss will load up the bus and head east about 300 miles for its NCAA regional assignment. The Golden Eagles are the 2-seed in the Auburn Regional and will open Friday against Samford, another Alabama school. Top-seeded Auburn will play Penn on Friday. USM is 41-17 and champion of the Sun Belt Conference. Auburn (34-21-1) went 1-2 in the SEC Tournament. Samford, a 36-win team that won the Southern Conference Tournament, is led by John Anderson, who has 22 homers, and Jayden Davis, a .363 hitter. Also on the Bulldogs roster is Hinds Community College alum Josh Rodriguez (.271, 11 homers), an outfielder, and Kace Garner, a Northwest Rankin grad who played at Meridian CC and Mississippi State before landing at Samford. A backup catcher, he hit .143 in 19 games. One of Auburn’s big sticks is Bryson Ware, former Germantown High and Pearl River CC standout who was a second-team All-SEC pick this season. The Tigers are coached by Amory High and Itawamba CC alum Butch Thompson, a former Mississippi State assistant coach. The winner of the Auburn Regional will meet the winner of the Clemson Regional, which also includes Tennessee, in the Super Regional round.