Southern Miss has added new talent from the transfer portal as the Golden Eagles have signed Billy Oldham from Eastern Connecticut.
Oldham, a Brookfield, CT native, helped lead Eastern Connecticut to the Division III national championship this past year. Eastern’s national championship win was its first in 20 years and fifth in program history. On the mound, the right-handed pitcher put up a 2.53 ERA, struck out 120 batters and walked just 24 in 96 innings pitched. In his 16 starts, Oldham recorded a 12-2 record and a 1.04 WHIP.
“He throws between 89 and 91 mph and hits some 92,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “He’s one of those kind of guys that was stuck at a D-III. He was just one that didn’t get noticed out of high school and was right there close to home for him.”
According to Berry, Oldham’s connection to USM originated with relief pitcher Isaiah Rhodes.
“(Oldham) played last summer with Isaiah Rhodes, and apparently the kid got into the portal, and he contacted Isaiah, and Isaiah told us about him,” Berry said. “It being a small world, the assistant coach for that team last summer was a coaching buddy of mine that I coached with in the Jayhawk League in 1988. I called him to get a little more scoop on his pitch ability, and he loved him and couldn’t say anything bad about the kid. He’s a strike thrower that pounds the zone. He has four pitches that he throws and can throw any pitch in any count.”
The incoming junior also saw significant time in his freshman season as he struck out 66 batters and walked only 18 batters while recording a 3.39 ERA.
The move also helps fill the void of losing Sunday starter Hurston Waldrep, who recently announced his intention to transfer to Florida, as well as help USM replenish its staff after five pitchers were taken in the MLB draft.
This move follows the trend of Southern Miss finding talent in the lower NCAA divisions as the Golden Eagles added Delta transfer Hunter Riggins to the roster last season. This past year, Riggins held down the Saturday starting role and posted a 2.59 ERA, struck out 85 batters and walked 21 in 97.1 innings pitched.
“He kind of reminds me of (Riggins),” Berry said. “The video that me and (pitching coach Christian Ostrander) watched on him had a lot of similarity to Riggins.
“I had a great conversation with him on the phone. He’s very well-spoken. I couldn’t have been any happier with the way that he was able to carry a conversation on the phone.”