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USM ranked No. 11, highest in team history

[4/6/04]Southern Miss reached No. 11 in this week’s Baseball America poll, the highest the Golden Eagles have ever been ranked.

The Eagles (24-4) will host in-state rival Mississippi State for a mid-week series starting tonight. Already this year, Southern Miss has beaten eighth-ranked Ole Miss.

The Rebels are ranked eighth in the Collegiate Baseball weekly poll and fifth in the Baseball America poll. Southern Miss checked in at No. 18 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Mississippi State is unranked.

Southern Miss and Ole Miss will tangle on April 20 in Oxford and again on April 27 at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.

The Golden Eagles are hitting a gaudy .337 as a team and have three starting pitchers with ERAs under 4.00

Last season the Eagles won the Conference USA championship and hosted the school’s first-ever NCAA Regional.

The loss of sluggers Jeff Cook and Clint King both playing minor league baseball and ace pitcher Bob McCrory has not slowed the Eagles down.

Coker, hitting .368, has earned more playing time with injuries to catcher Brad Wilcutt, and Coker’s hot bat.

In Oxford, the Rebels won two-of-three from Mississippi State in a weekend series. The Rebels reached as high as No. 4 last week before tumbling four spots to No. 8 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

A three-game series at the end of May against SEC West rival LSU could decide the championship.

The Rebels are hitting .321 as a team this season, and former Warren Central standout Brian Pettway is hitting .321. Another former Viking, John Morgan Mims, has played in five games and has two hits in five at bats.