Southern Miss baseball picked to win Conference USA

There is no reigning Conference USA Baseball champion from the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but Southern Miss is still getting plenty of respect as the last team to win the league crown in 2019.

Today, the Golden Eagles were picked to win the west division and their 10 first place votes are tied with Florida Atlantic from the east to win the C-USA title.

USM also has a league high four players selected to the All-Conference team led by pitcher of the year Walker Powell as well as Gabe Shepard and Hunter Stanley on the mound and Gabe Montenegro in the outfield.

In fact, USM accounts for three of the four arms selected as all pre-season and given the fact that C-USA is moving to a four-game series, 32 innings in three days is light work for this Southern Miss staff. Powell said, “It’s going to be tough to win a series against us. I can say that confidently. I’ve been here six years, and I’ve been on a lot of good teams and this is one of the best pitching staffs – one of the deepest pitching staffs – that I’ve been a part of. And yeah, I just think it’s going to be tough to get a few over on us on the weekend. And now that it’s four games, like I said, it just plays into our strengths. Before, we were kind of like, who’s going to pitch what day? We don’t have enough games for all the starters to get in on, but this kind of worked out well.”

A 2015 high school graduate, Powell is a rare sixth-year senior at USM.

In the SEC, Ole Miss and Mississippi State picked to finish one-two in the West with the Rebels getting seven first place votes to the Bulldogs’ three. However, MSU receiving one vote to win the SEC championship behind Florida’s 12 and Vanderbilt’s one.

On the individual front, Mississippi State’s Tanner Allen named All-SEC first team alongside Josh Hatcher and Rowdey Jordan on the second team.

As for Ole Miss, Pearl River Central alum Hayden Dunhurst tabbed second team for catcher as well as third basemen Tim Elko.