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2020 Conference Wrap: Conference USA

Analysis

It’s still hard to believe the 2020 college baseball season is over after just four weeks of play. Most conferences didn’t even reach league play before the coronavirus halted the season, so it would be pointless to give out any legitimate awards or draw any sweeping conclusions from our meager sample size. With that in mind, we won’t be releasing a 2020 All-America team, or naming a national Player of the Year or Freshman of the Year.

But informally, we can still take a look back at those first four weeks and highlight some players who stood out. Keep in mind that nonconference strength of schedules vary dramatically, and four weeks really isn’t a long enough period to even determine how strong a given schedule truly was. With those caveats out of the way, here are some superlative picks for the Conference USA, which played four weeks of nonconference action and had yet to reach conference play.

Here are the superlative categories:

  • Best Team
  • Most Surprising Team
  • Most Impressive Hitter
  • Most Impressive Pitcher
  • Best Senior
  • Best Freshman
  • Breakout Player
  • Breakout Pitcher

Best Team

Southern Miss

The Golden Eagles were the preseason favorite to win the conference, and they were off to a terrific 12-4 start when the campaign ended. USM won three of four from a solid Central Arkansas club before also beating Troy and McNeese State. USM had an RPI of 36 at the end of non-conference play, and that would’ve put them in a good position for an at-large bid at minimum with a solid showing in C-USA play.

The Eagles were off to a terrific start from a pitching standpoint with righthander Walker Powell tallying a 1.24 ERA in 29 innings, along with 22 strikeouts and two walks, while Gabe Shepard was coming along, and Ben Ethridge had a 2.29 ERA in 19.2 innings. Hunter Stanley also was off to a terrific start with eight appearances and a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings. He also had struck out 22 and walked just one. Offensively, Charlie Fischer (.317) and Matt Guidry (.313) were off to impressive starts.

C-USA had several teams off to a nice start, but USM, the preseason favorite, was expected to be the cream of the crop.

 

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