USM baseball turf field ready for 2020

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The artificial turf era of Southern Miss baseball is officially underway.

On Friday, the Golden Eagles broke in their playing surface for the very first time on the very first day of spring practice.

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Replacing the natural grass is a project that took almost three months to complete, but it was well worth the off-season wait.

This Pete Taylor facelift is not only a safeguard against Mother Nature, but also breathes new life into a USM ball club now on equal footing with several other College World Series programs.  Head Baseball Coach Scott Berry said, “Well, I think everybody in the program is excited about the new surface and everything that it’s going to offer us as a program.”

Southern Miss Athletic Director Jeremy McClain said, “The ability to get on the field, not miss games because of rain, not miss practices, to be able to host tournaments over the summer, just a long list of things that will make us better as a program.”

Southern Miss Outfielder Gabe Montenegro said, “You do feel like you run faster because you don’t feel like you sink that much. You feel like quicker in it.”

Southern Miss Pitcher Gabe Shepard said, “You feel more explosive off the mound, so I mean that’s something that could help.”

Southern Miss will hold its annual media day at the Pete on Friday.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.

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