The Jaguars are 7-7 this season, including 0-3 against SEC teams Vanderbilt and Alabama. Vanderbilt shut out South Alabama twice, and Alabama won 12-2 last night in Tuscaloosa.
South Alabama won two of three over Gonzaga last weekend in Mobile.
The Jaguars don’t hit the ball well - just a .200 average through 14 games. Reid Powers, a junior catcher, is batting .372 in the three hole. Powers is kind of built like a taller Casey Opitz in that he is more slender for a catcher. No one else on the roster is hitting above .300.
The Friday pitcher is pretty good. Drake Nightengale is a senior right hander who was a preseason All-American, according to Collegiate Baseball, and the preseason Sun Belt pitcher of the year. His fastball is low 90s, but his pitch is his 84-85 mph slider.
He has allowed four earned runs in 17 1/3 innings, and he has 30 strikeouts to four walks. Last year teams only batted .196 against him and this year they are batting .206 through three starts.
The weekend pitching kind of falls off behind him. RHP Miles Smith, the likely Game 2 starter, has allowed 10 earned runs in 13 innings.
RHP JoJo Booker, the likely Game 3 starter, has given up seven earned runs in 13 innings. Booker has a lot of potential and throws hard, but is erratic (5 walks, 4 hit batters, 3 wild pitches). He was a fifth-round draft pick out of high school.
One of South Alabama’s strengths is its fielding. The team only has seven errors this season and is fielding .986.