Thirty home games, including non-conference three-game visits from Northwestern State, Connecticut, Louisiana-Lafayette and Missouri State highlight the 2021 Southern Miss baseball schedule which was released Thursday morning by coach Scott Berry.
The Golden Eagles, which finished the 2020 campaign with a 12-4 record in a COVID-19 shortened season, play 28 games this season against eight different teams that finished in last year’s Top 100 RPI by WarrenNolan.com.
Three of those, Alabama (No. 3), Florida Atlantic (No. 30) and Middle Tennessee (No. 48) finished in the Top 50.
Southern Miss opens the campaign by playing six its first seven games at home, including a three-game series against Northwestern State, Feb. 19-21, during the opening weekend. After a midweek contest at South Alabama (Feb. 23), the Golden Eagles entertain Connecticut at Pete Taylor Park (Feb. 26-28) for the first time during the second weekend.
The Golden Eagles then begin a stretch of four-straight road games as they travel to Pearl to face Mississippi State at Trustmark Park (Mar. 2), before heading to Ohio Valley Conference preseason favorite Jacksonville State (Mar. 5-7) for a three-game set.
Berry’s squad follows that portion of the schedule with six home games over the next seven contests, including three against Louisiana-Lafayette (Mar. 12-14), a single game at South Alabama (Mar. 16) and three contests at home versus Missouri State (Mar. 19-21).
A trip to Tuscaloosa for a single contest against Alabama (Mar. 23) is the final game before the Golden Eagles open Conference USA play against Louisiana Tech (Mar. 26-28) at The Pete. The Bulldogs and Southern Miss will also meet in Ruston, April 16-18.
The home-and-home series with Louisiana Tech is a new wrinkle in the league schedule this year due to COVID-19. Southern Miss will play 32 league games, as opposed to 30 the league had scheduled each season since 2014. The league will also be divided into two divisions with Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Rice, UAB and UTSA in the West with Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Old Dominion and WKU set for the East.
The format includes six in-division series and two cross division series. Each series will consist of four games, including a pair of scheduled seven-inning contests each Saturday in league play.
Other league home series for Southern Miss include UAB (Apr. 9-11), WKU (Apr. 23-25) and Middle Tennessee (May 7-9), while facing UTSA (Apr. 1-3), Rice (May 1-3) and Florida Atlantic (May 14-16) on the road.
The non-conference midweek home contests includes South Alabama (Apr. 13) and Southeastern Louisiana (May 4).
The top eight teams from the C-USA regular season will then meet in Ruston, La., May 26-30, for the league's baseball championship tournament. The Golden Eagles have played in the championship game in each of the last three tournaments, winning the last two events.