The Southern Miss baseball team returns to action this weekend when they take on East Carolina at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville, N.C., in a big three-game Conference USA series.
The game times (all central) are set for 5 p.m., on Friday, 1 p.m., on Saturday and 10 a.m., on Sunday. All three games can be heard on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network with flagship station, WKZW-FM, 94-3, carrying all the action in the Hattiesburg/Laurel area.
The Golden Eagles (24-19 overall, 13-5 C-USA) enters the weekend with a two-game lead in the league standings over UCF and a two and a half game advantage on Rice, having won three straight games and 13 of their last 15.
ECU has been on a roll of their own having won seven of its last eight games and its last three C-USA series to post a 24-21 overall mark and an 8-7 league mark, which ranks fourth place.
In a series that dates back to the 2002 campaign, the Golden Eagles lead the Pirates 22-16 in the overall series and have won the last three sets with ECU, including a sweep for USM in Hattiesburg last season.
Against the Pirates this weekend Southern Miss will send its same weekend rotation to mound that it has used the last five weeks.
Sophomore lefthander Jake Drehoff, who will get the call for the Golden Eagles on Friday, has gone at least six innings in five of his last six starts and has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.08 ERA over that span, throwing 39 innings and giving up 36 hits, nine earned runs, 12 walks and 37 strikeouts. This season, Drehoff is 2-4 with a 3.70 earned run average.
On Saturday, senior right-handed pitcher Andrew Pierce, who was named one of 60 Golden Spikes Award nominees to their mid-season watch list, gets the nod for Southern Miss. Pierce has posted a 9-1 record with a 2.13 ERA this season, having registered a two-year record of 16-5 with the school.
Junior righty Conor Fisk (4-1, 2.08 ERA) will take the mound in the finale. Fisk comes off a start in which he tied a team season-high for strikeouts with 11 in a 5-4 victory over UAB.
The Pirates are set to counter with three right-handers on the weekend including Jeff Hoffman (4-4, 2.84 ERA) on Friday, David Lucroy (4-1, 2.15 ERA) on Saturday and Ryan Williams (6-2, 4.17 ERA) on Sunday.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles boast four players hitting over the .300 mark including sophomore Austin Roussel who is at .346, senior Chase Fowler at .338, senior Isaac Rodriguez at .333 and Mason Robbins at .313.
Following this weekend's slate, USM returns to action to face Southern Illinois-Edwardsville next weekend as it will be the school's off weekend from conference play.