/Southern Miss’ Wizard of Oz guides one of nation’s top pitching staffs

Southern Miss’ Wizard of Oz guides one of nation’s top pitching staffs

Walker Powell and Hunter Stanley are the starters and Ryan Och is the reliever. They had 24 wins against six losses and an average earned run of just under two runs per game. They struck out five times more batters than they walked. They were dominating because that was what they were. How do you rebuild that dominance? The Golden Eagles just reloaded. Southern Miss is currently ranked No. These guys have been replaced by Southern Miss, currently ranked as high as No. Guess what? This year’s Eagle pitching team has fared better than last. Southern Miss’ team earned run average was 3.74, while opponents hit.236. The team ERA for the Eagle pitchers is 2.86. This is nearly a run less than last year, while opponents are just.222. READ MORE: Christopher Ostrander: This guy is a master of his craft. In fact, Southern Miss’s pitching ranks among the top five in nearly every NCAA statistical category. It’s no surprise that the Golden Eagles have a 24-8 record and the nation’s ninth-best RPI as they enter the three-game series at Florida International on Thursday night. This feat was achieved in spite of a schedule currently ranked 23rd most challenging in the country. Christian Ostrander, the pitching coach, is the one constant in all of this success. He’s also known as Oz in college baseball circles, after the Wizard of Oz. As a reward for his hard work, Ostrander is also the associate head coach for this season. Ostrander is certainly not the best at what he does. Ostrander is a Delta State graduate and has had success wherever he’s worked including stints at Jones Junior College, Louisiana Tech, and Delta State. Scott Berry, Ostrander’s boss, says: “No doubt Coach Oz is the best pitching coach in our game today. His unique ability to build trust with his pitchers allows them to listen and then develop accordingly. Many of our pitchers have improved their game through his teachings from both the mental and the physical sides of the game.” Ostander’s philosophy for successful college pitching can be summarized in two words: “Throw strikes.” While Coach Oz isn’t alone in this, he seems to get his pitchers to believe that philosophy better than 99 percent of other coaches. Southern Miss is ranked No. Number 2 in the country in strikeouts-to-walks, behind Tennessee. Golden Eagle pitching has struckout (353) five times as many batters than they have walked (75). The Eagles are third in the country in earned run average. The Eagles’ deep bullpen has been a huge help. Ostrander states, “I tell my guys, Don’t give the batters too much credit.'” Let them work hard. They should watch batting practice to see how many outs hitters get against BP pitching. Give them nothing. Give them what they deserve. Take a look at weekend starters: Tanner Hall fanned 68 batters in 49.2 innings and walked six. Hunter Riggins fanned 41 batters and walked nine over 48 innings. Hurston Waldrep struck out 63 batters and walked 13. In 42 innings. Waldrep has been the third starter of the rotation and has allowed only 25 hits while posting an ERA 1.97. His opponents only managed a measly 0.170 against him. Waldrep throws an explosive fastball at 95-97 mph. Ostrander stated, “He has power-power.” Ostrander said, “He has a four-pitch combination with that fastball and slider, as well as a curve and split change. It’s a big league pitch when he throws it correctly.” He is a hard worker. He is as strong as an ox. He is my Thor.” Waldrep, a recruit from Hattiesburg, Ga., was a freshman who pitched 16 innings in 2021. Ostrander believes that he has more pitchers than Waldrep, who may surprise him later. Ostrander stated, “We’re deep. I believe that.” “We have some guys further down the line that are waiting for an opportunity. There are only so many innings and when your starters go deep like ours, it’s difficult to get everyone the work they deserve.” All this depth should bode well for tournament time. Southern Miss and Ole Miss fans will be able to recall the 2021 Oxford Regional, when the Golden Eagles battled their way to the title game, but were unable to pitch in the final. It was a slugfest with 12 home runs by the Eagles, seven of which were scored by them. The Eagles will be better equipped to play five games in four days with the current staff. This is something that an NCAA Regional requires. The Eagles are currently 32 games into a 55 game regular season. They are behind some of the most formidable competition. Southern Miss is currently a NCAA host, with much baseball still to be played. The Eagles will pitch like an NCAA host, but could also be a top eight team.