Southern Miss opens up with Arizona State Friday

For 64 college baseball teams, the road to Omaha starts tomorrow. For Southern Miss that road begins in Baton Rouge against a team that won its first 21 games of the season.

Three-seed USM will lead things off against two-seed Arizona State at noon Friday with one-seed LSU and four-seed Stony Brook to follow at 6.

That presents an interesting match-up of strength versus strength in the early game as the Sun Devils lead the entire nation with 92 home runs while the Golden Eagles enter regional play riding a streak of 19 straight scoreless innings.

And despite ASU jumping out to an overall mark of 25-1, it’s hard to find a regional that’s more wide open than the one in Baton Rouge.

All four teams had a losing regular season record in the month of May and considering a three-seed has made it the College World Series in four out of the past five seasons, Southern Miss is ready to bring the noise in the nosiest stadium in the country. Matt Wallner said, “Yeah, I think we’re excited to get a little practice in out here and see what this place actually looks like for real. It’s pretty impressive, obviously. It’s going to be fun to play here and compete here this weekend and in think the vibe is up, so we’re excited.”

Gabe Shepard said, “It’s just exciting. Exciting to be out there and go do what I love doing for the team, and be able to accomplish a lot and get a W for us so I’m ready for it.”

Gabe Shepard will get the ball against the Sun Devils after leading USM to the first-ever no hitter in C-USA Tournament history.

The Baton Rouge Regional field has a combined 42 trips to Omaha with all four teams accounting for at least one.

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