USM looks for answers this week vs. LSU & Tulane

Posted by PATRICK MAGEE on April 2, 2013 

The Southern Miss baseball team will face LSU at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La.

It's a huge task for USM against an LSU team that has won eight in a row and will likely make it nine straight tonight over Alcorn State.

USM coach Scott Berry will look to redshirt freshman left-hander Luke Lowery to make the start against LSU. Lowery allowed no earned runs on five hits during the 3-1 loss at South Alabama last week in the first start of his career.

Southern Miss is 11-16 while LSU is an impressive 26-2.

While Berry expects more out of his team, he has seen positive signs of late.

"I think there is no doubt we've played hard and been close in losing games," Berry said. "If you look at it, there are four games in the last two weeks we should have won - Auburn, Rice on Sunday and South Alabama mid-week and then Central Florida in the Friday game. Those four games were games we lost late in the game and we had a chance to win. With our team, we're playing hard, but we have a tendency to do some things that don't allow us to win games. On the flip side of that, we have been able to get some stops where we need them and win games. Right now, our record reflects the way we've played overall this year. But I do feel like we're playing better."

Berry said that he will follow the same weekend rotation he had last week at UCF in this weekend's home series against Tulane.

Jake Drehoff will start Friday, Andrew Pierce will go Saturday and Conor Fisk will throw Sunday.

Drehoff has thrown well since he was forced from the Central Arkansas game in the first inning on March 16.

"That's when he hit rock bottom," Berry said of the UCA game. "I think basically he had to take a step back and go back to basics. He worked himself back up. He's got a lot of confidence in himself."

Drehoff is 1-3 this season with a 3.93 ERA after going 6-2 with a 3.51 ERA last year.

Southern Miss has a long way to go if it wants to make this campaign somewhat of a success, and it will likely have to get hot in the Conference USA Tournament to salvage the season. USM has an RPI ranking of 102 according to BoydsWorld.com.

USM will look to turn it around this week against a pair of programs from Louisiana.

“We sure would love to get on a roll just as anybody else would,” Berry said. “But we've got to simplify things and look at LSU before we look at Tulane. We've got to concentrate on one game at a time. We've just got to simplify things.”

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