Final thoughts and predicitons for the Hattiesburg Super Regional by the 4th Street Sports crew

Southern Miss (45-18) will take on Tennessee (41-19) in the Hattiesburg Super Regional in a three-game set starting Saturday at 2 PM CT. Here are some final things to be aware of:

When, where and how do I watch?

When: Saturday at 2 PM CT, Sunday (TBD), Monday (TBD) (If Necessary)


Where: Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, MS

Probable Rotation:

Saturday: Tennessee’s RH Andrew Lindsey, Jr. (3-2, 2.40 ERA) vs. Southern Miss’s RH Billy Oldham, Jr. (8-3, 4.33 ERA)

Sunday: Tennesee’s RH Chase Dollander, Jr. (6-6, 4.50 ERA) vs. Southern Miss’s RH Tanner Hall, Jr. (12-3, 2.08 ERA)

Monday (*If Necessary): Tennesee’s RH Drew Beam, So. (8-4, 4.09 ERA) vs. TBA

Our editors caught up with the 4th Street Sports Show crew: Dima Mixon, host and director of 4th Street Sports Show, and Jackson Kennedy, 4th Street Sports Show co-host, and they give their final thoughts and predictions for the 2023 Hattiesburg Super Regional.

1. What does Southern Miss have to do to win this series?

Jackson Kennedy: Southern Miss has to fire on all cylinders to win this series. They can’t have an off day, they can’t let any emotional highs or lows cause mistakes and they can’t play too tight. The moment they lose the crowd winning becomes one hundred times harder. They need to understand the importance of this series, but they can’t let the moment get too big for them. If the Golden Eagles pitch, hit, and field like it’s their last-ever game for Scott Berry, it won’t be.

Dima Mixon: Fast starts are super important for Southern Miss. Last season, Ole Miss took control of both games super early, and Southern Miss could never get any momentum and use the crowd to their advantage. Going up 2-0 or 1-0 in the opening inning would be huge to allow their pitchers to pitch with the lead, which is always better. Also, the batters have to be patient. Tennessee will be throwing high-velocity stuff, and Southern Miss will probably need a couple of innings to find their total offense. Frustrated players at the plate or pushing for a hit will not cut it against high-velocity SEC arms like USM will see with the Volunteers  

2. How much impact will Southern Miss playing at home have on the series?

Jackson Kennedy: Playing at home will be huge. Southern Miss had one of the best and most electric crowds out there, and when the crowd puts this team on their back, Southern Miss is unbeatable.

Dima Mixon: Well, fast starts are big for USM. Because they want to play with the crowd energized. USM gave them nothing to cheer for in last season’s super-regional. They could never seize momentum in either game because the crowd wasn’t in it. But if they start a game this series with a quick leadoff double, a home run, an RBI, or whatever, then the crowd is into it. If the crowd is into it, I dont think Tennessee will have played in front of a crowd that will go as wild as USM fans will with a shot to Omaha on the line. It will be hectic, and I hope you find a ticket because you will witness some of the biggest games in USM baseball history. And you know… there’s always Pete Taylor Park magic that Tennessee should be aware of. 

3. What are the keys for USM’s pitching staff?

Jackson Kennedy: The pitching staff needs to play with confidence. This Tennessee team isn’t better than anyone else Southern Miss has played, and if pitchers can force soft contact and let the men behind them do some work, they will get out of this weekend fairly unscathed.

Dima Mixon: They need to be ok with giving up some stuff and not get frustrated. Tennessee will be able to score in this series; they can hit the ball. It might be off of Tanner Hall; it might be off of Justin Storm. Whoever is on the mound has to be ok with giving up some runs but making sure not to give out freebies (walks, passed balls, etc.) Southern Miss must bring their A game in pitching if they plan to slow down the Volunteer offense. I think a strong weekend for USM’s pitching starts with Tanner Hall. Hall must have a decisive game. So, be ok with giving up runs; but dont give up freebies. 

4. What are the keys for USM’s offense? 

Jackson Kennedy: There are two keys for Southern Miss’s offense:
1.) Line drive base hits. These boys are playing their hardest for Scott Berry, which means they’re trying to hit it yard too often and getting under the ball too much. Line drive base hits will get just as many runs as swinging for the fences if not more.
2.) Stop leaving men on base. If Southern Miss wants to win, they can’t leave 14 men on base per game. That starts with line drive base hits and ends with a small ball. Bunts, hitting into the gap, and patient at-bats can help fix this for USM.

Dima Mixon: Patience. Patience. Patience. Tennessee has one of the best pitching staffs in the country. Coming into the season, they were slated to have the best starting rotation in the country. They can hold USM’s offense down for most of the weekend. Southern Miss isn’t used to seeing the velocity and movement on some of the pitches like they will see this weekend. They must be patient and not get frustrated if they aren’t putting up big numbers on the scoreboard. They have to be able to score runners in scoring positions as well. Leaving eight-plus guys on base is not going to cut it when you are in games this big where the margain of error is so small. They must come up with big hits in big moments against talented arms. I think Slade Wilks needs to have a big series. He has shown he can destroy fastballs and sped-up changeups, and he has to come through for USM if they want to get to the College World Series. 

5. If Tennessee wins, why? 

Jackson Kennedy: If Tennessee wins, it will be because Southern Miss left too many men on base and let the moment get too big for them. The latter I’m less worried about, as there is a business-like attitude from the players and coaches alike. Matt Adams was heard after Monday’s win saying to his teammates, “job’s not done,” and that’s a good way to put it.

Dima Mixon: If you just compared the lineups, Tennessee is the favorite here. They have a very deep and talented pitching staff you need to have to win a three-game series. Their bats are hot, and they will be able to score runs. I think they win if they can get Tanner Hall or whoever is starting out of the game early and seize momentum early. Their key to success is to take the crowd out of the game and then play the game of baseball, and they should be able to get out of Hattiesburg with two wins. 

6. If Southern Miss wins, why?

Jackson Kennedy: If Southern Miss wins, it will be because Tennessee underestimated Southern Miss. This crowd will be brutal. Tennessee’s fans don’t know what’s coming, and Pete Taylor Park will be rocking and doing all they can to rattle the Vols to their core. Tennessee also may be underestimating just how much these players love Scott Berry. They’re going to play their best baseball this weekend to propel their beloved skipper to Omaha and beyond.

Dima Mixon: Game one will be huge for Southern Miss. They will win the whole thing if they win game one. With Billy Oldham going on the bump game one, obviously seemingly a more difficult task, but he has to pitch just like he did against Auburn. Get that soft contact and keep the ball in the park as much as possible. Also, the bats have to get going and get going early. They can’t play from behind, and they have to pressure Tennessee to score, not on themselves. They can’t leave too many guys on base, they have to have solid numbers in the RISP category, and they will win the series. 

7. How much will Scott Berry’s retirement play into the series?

Jackson Kennedy: Scott Berry’s retirement has played a massive role in the latter part of this season, and it will play an even bigger role this weekend. Scott Berry could be one of the most beloved figures in recent Southern Miss memory if not Southern Miss history. What he’s done for these players, these fans, and this school is something that will be felt for decades.

Dima Mixon: I mean, everyone is thinking about it, right? Scott Berry, in his garden, one more time for a chance to go to Omaha; what else does the 30 for 30 need? His boys will play their hearts out for him any day of the week; this weekend is no different. Now, if USM wins one of these games and the Golden Eagles are one win away from Omaha, you will see a different breed of every one of the players on the field. 

8. Who wins and why? 

Jackson Kennedy: I predict Southern Miss wins in 2. This moment is too big for anything else to happen. One last series for Danny, Sarge, Rodrigo, Dusty, Reece, Tanner, and Potentially Justin Storm and Matt Etzel is something that these players won’t take for granted. They’re going to play their hearts out for these fans and, most importantly, for Scott Berry. Being able to stand in the dugout and on the field one last time as the head coach in what is the biggest series in Southern Miss baseball history is something that these players understand, and they won’t let anything else but a resounding win come out of this weekend. PICK: Southern Miss 2-0

Dima Mixon: People always ask me who I think is better, this year’s or last year’s team. I always answer that last year’s team was better, but this year’s team has a better chance of winning it all. I have said that from the beginning of the season, and I still stand by it. There is no doubt that Tennessee can come into Hattiesburg this weekend and shut the door on Scott Berry’s farewell season and send the Golden Eagles packing in the super for the second straight year in a row. But there is just a magic about this team that I can’t deny. There is something about this team that’s different. They want it more than ever, and with the added “go win it for coach” mentality, USM will play the best baseball you have seen all season. I said last year when they played Ole Miss, whoever wins game one will win the series in two. This season, I’m sticking with that. I have Southern Miss winning game one, which means I have Southern Miss winning in two. They win and send Scott Berry to eastern Nebraska, and Pete Taylor Park is a zoo on the final out. Enjoy it; you are living in some of the best baseballs you will ever see as a USM fan. PICK: Southern Miss, 2-0.