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Ashley Brown: Sandlin a hit in Hattiesburg

Posted: June 4, 2017 - 1:57am
Former Greenbrier pitcher Nick Sandlin has become a standout pitcher for Southern Miss. He is 10-1 with seven saves and a 2.16 ERA in his sophomore season.
Former Greenbrier pitcher Nick Sandlin has become a standout pitcher for Southern Miss. He is 10-1 with seven saves and a 2.16 ERA in his sophomore season.

Hattiesburg, Miss., is a city currently in love with their baseball team. That would be the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

The team, which features former Greenbrier star Nick Sandlin, is enjoying an incredible season. They currently stand at 48-14 having captured the Conference USA title. The Golden Eagles were one of 16 schools chosen to hold an NCAA Regional. If you want proof that Hattiesburg loves their Golden Eagles, the regional (which got underway this weekend) sold out in less than 36 hours of the announcement. One of the key reasons for Southern Miss' success has been the right arm of Sandlin.

He arrived on campus last year as a 5-foot-10, 155-pound (and I am being generous) bit of an unknown. He was a late signee and, despite a spectacular prep career at Greenbrier, did not come in with the hoopla of a few other newcomers. However, just as he had done at Greenbrier his final two prep seasons, Sandlin took the mound as a freshman and left dozens of baffled hitters in his wake. He earned freshman All-American honors after going 3-3 with a 2.38 ERA and a Southern Miss freshman record 12 saves. So, it would come as no surprise that, after putting on 15 pounds of muscle and having a year under his belt, big things were expected of the sophomore in 2017. Well, Sandlin has not disappointed. He started the year hot and has not let up all spring. He was one of eight pitchers in the entire nation selected as a Perfect Game/Rawlings Mid-Season All-American after starting the season 5-0 with an ERA of 0.34. Just as he had done while leading Greenbrier to the 2015 AAAAA State Title, Sandlin has been almost automatic for the Golden Eagles all season.

For the season, Sandlin's numbers are beyond impressive. He is tied for 6th in the nation in victories with a 10-1 mark. He also sports a 2.16 ERA and has piled up 7 saves. He also has 72 strikeouts and only 25 walks in 50 innings of work on the season. He also ranks 6th nationally in strikeouts per 9 innings (13.2 strikeouts) and 19th in hits allowed per 9 innings (6.1 hits allowed). He has not given up a single home run all year in 26 appearances and has held opposing hitters to a .191 batting average.

And, Southern Miss is not just beating up on Conference USA opponents. They already have a win this season over SEC power Mississippi State. That win may have been more important than thought at the time, because Mississippi State is one of three teams coming to Hattiesburg for this weekend's NCAA Regional. The Bulldogs will be the No. 2 Seed. A very talented South Alabama squad will be the No. 3 Seed and Illinois-Chicago will be the No. 4 Seed. The winner will move on to a Super Regional and be two wins away from a trip to the College World Series.

Good luck Sandlin and the Golden Eagles!

 

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