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Louisiana, Southern Miss Set For Regular-Season Finale

Battle of two of top three teams in Sun Belt starts Thursday in Hattiesburg
Julain Brock UL BSB vs ULM.jpg
Posted at 10:19 PM, May 17, 2023

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team closes out its regular season beginning Thursday when it faces No. 23-ranked Southern Miss in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.

First pitch for Thursday’s opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. The series resumes on Friday at 6 p.m. before concluding on Saturday at 1. All three games will be streamed live on ESPN+ with fans able to listen to each game in the Lafayette area on KPEL-FM (96.5) and worldwide on the Varsity Network app.

Louisiana (35-18, 17-10 SBC) closed out its home slate last weekend with a three-game sweep of Texas State. The Ragin’ Cajuns face USM (35-15, 20-7 SBC), winners of its last 13 games, for the first time as a Sun Belt member with the Golden Eagles claiming a pair of wins in last season’s non-conference series in Lafayette.

Kyle DeBarge, who has hit safely in his last 13 games, leads Louisiana at the plate with a .357 average. Heath Hood (.340-5-36), Julian Brock (.335-11-59), Carson Roccaforte (.323-4-41) and John Taylor (.307-6-40) are next in hitting for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games while hitting at a .312 clip.

Conor Higgs, hitting .393 since being inserted in the lineup last month, is hitting .375 for the Ragin’ Cajuns with five home runs and 25 RBI.

Jackson Nezuh (8-4, 6.81 ERA) will earn the start in Thursday’s opener for Louisiana with Carson Fluno (2-0, 4.38 ERA) expected to start on Friday. Saturday’s starter is to be determined.

Dustin Dickerson (.325-3-31), Matthew Etzel (.316-5-37) and Slade Wilks (.313-18-53) are the top hitters for USM, which is 24-4 at home.

All-American candidate Tanner Hall (10-3, 2.70 ERA) will earn the start for the Golden Eagles in Thursday’s opener with Billy Oldham (6-2, 4.64 ERA) getting the start on Friday. Matt Adams (3-2, 4.15 ERA) is expected to take the mound on Saturday.

Fans are encouraged to stay engaged with the Ragin' Cajuns by downloading the #GeauxCajuns app. Click here [apps.apple.com] for iOS/Apple platforms and here [play.google.com] for Android platforms.

For the latest updates on Ragin' Cajuns baseball, follow on Facebook (RaginCajunsBaseball), Twitter (@RaginCajunsBSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsBSB) or check RaginCajuns.com.

GAMES 54-56 PREVIEW 

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (35-18, 17-10 SBC) at Southern Miss Golden Eagles (35-15, 20-7 SBC)

DATE/TIMES (dates and times are subject to change) 

Thursday – May 18, 6 p.m.

Friday – May 19, 6 p.m.

Saturday – May 20, 1 p.m.

LOCATION/SITE 

Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field (4,500) | Hattiesburg, Miss.

PITCHING MATCHUPS 

THURSDAY – 6 p.m. 

LOUISIANA | RH Jackson Nezuh (6-1, 180, Jr., St. Cloud, Fla.)

’23 Stats: 8-4, 6.81 ERA, 70.0 IP, 74 H, 56 R, 53 ER, 24 BB, 79 K, .273 OppBA

 

SOUTHERN MISS | RH Tanner Hall (6-1, 186, Jr., Zachary, La.)

’23 Stats: 10-3, 2.70 ERA, 80.0 IP, 61 H, 29 R, 24 ER, 29 BB, 88 K, .211 OppBA

 

FRIDAY – 6 p.m. 

LOUISIANA | RH Carson Fluno (6-1, 185, Jr., Sun Prairie, Wis.)

’23 Stats: 2-0, 4.38 ERA, 3 Sv., 39.0 IP, 40 H, 23 R, 19 ER, 15 BB, 43 K, .260 OppBA

 

SOUTHERN MISS | RH Billy Oldham (6-1, 217, Jr., Brookfield, Conn.)

’23 Stats: 6-2, 4.64 ERA, 54.1 IP, 42 H, 32 R, 28 ER, 20 BB, 69 K, .205 OppBA

 

SATURDAY – 1 p.m. 

LOUISIANA | TBA

 

SOUTHERN MISS | RH Matt Adams (5-11, 189, CJr., Pearland, Texas)

’23 Stats: 3-2, 4.15 ERA, 52.0 IP, 45 H, 27 R, 24 ER, 20 BB, 59 K, .237 OppBA

 

RANKINGS 

Louisiana – Not ranked

Southern Miss – No. 23 (D1Baseball); No. 14 (Collegiate Baseball); No. 24 (USA Today Coaches’ Poll, NCBWA)

RADIO/TV/LIVE STATISTICS 

RADIO (Pregame Show starts 30 minutes prior to first pitch) 

Station – KPEL-FM (96.5) / The Varsity Network App 

Talent – Jay Walker (pxp); Anthony Babineaux (color)

STREAMING (ESPN+) 

Talent – Jason Baker (pxp); Cliff Russum (analyst)

LIVE STATS 

CajunStats.com

SERIES RECORD 

Overall: Louisiana leads, 29-28

In Lafayette: Louisiana leads, 17-8

In Hattiesburg: Southern Miss leads, 18-11

Neutral Sites: Southern Miss leads, 1-0

SBC Games: First meeting

Last 10: Southern Miss, 7-3

WHAT’S ON DECK 

Louisiana gets ready to defend its 2022 Sun Belt Conference Championship title when the 2023 edition begins on Tuesday at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Ala.

The opening day begins on Tuesday with a single-elimination round between the No. 7-10 seeds in the field. The double elimination portion of the SBC Championship begins on Wednesday (May 24).

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