MTSU vs. Southern Miss Series Preview
By: Tyler Hurst
MT Sports Reporter
Middle Tennessee Softball opens Conference-USA play this weekend as they welcome the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles to town for a weekend series at the Blue Raider Softball Field.
The Blue Raiders (12-14) are coming off a midweek win against Austin Peay on Wednesday, and the team feels like they have some momentum going into conference play. The non-conference schedule included the likes of (at the time) No. 2 Alabama and No. 8 Virginia Tech, and the team hopes their early season challenges will have them more than prepared for C-USA play.
“If we’re not ready, we’re never going to be,” head coach Jeff Breeden said. “We’ve played a tremendously hard schedule, and put them in situations where, if we can draw from those situations that we’ve had all up to this point this weekend, then everything will work out fine.”
Up to this point, Middle Tennessee hasn’t played in a three-game series yet, as they’ve been playing primarily in non-conference tournaments/showcases away from the friendly confines of their home stadium. However, Breeden doesn’t believe his team will have a hard time adjusting to series life.
“We’re going from playing six games on a weekend in a three-day period, to now playing three,” Breeden said. “We should have a great amount of energy, a good scout, and if we make adjustments at the plate, then everything should take care of itself.”
Southern Miss (17-9) had a strong non-conference showing, highlighted with a win over Florida which was ranked No. 4 at the time. They’re in the midst of a recent skid though, as they’ve dropped their last four games, including their first C-USA series against North Texas in which they were swept. The Golden Eagles were picked to finish ninth in in the C-USA preseason coaches’ poll.
Middle Tennessee was picked to finish sixth in the C-USA coaches’ poll, and the team is using it as motivation going into the opening series this weekend and beyond.
“I personally like being the underdog,” senior pitcher Gretchen Mead said. “When you have a target on your back everyone wants to beat you, but we're the ones that want to beat everyone else, so it feels good.”
The Blue Raiders hope to get off to a strong start and take the series this weekend at Blue Raider Softball Field.
Friday’s game will start at 6:00 pm CST, Saturday’s game at 4:00 pm CST, and Sunday’s game will begin at noon CST.