More than 3,300 see opening day

“Everything went great, except for the hometown team getting beat,” tournament organizer Tim Bennett says of Wednesday’s opening day of the Conference USA baseball championship at MGM Park.

Although turnout was light for the two morning games Wednesday, Bennett said at the end of the day more than 3,300 fans had turned out to see the four games, with the largest crowd attending the Southern Miss game, where the Eagles were stunned, 9-2, by the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“The No. 1 seed getting beat by the No. 8 seed is pretty rare,” Bennett said, “but that’s why you don’t play it on paper. You gotta get on the grass.”

USM, which came into the tournament with a 14-game winning streak and had not lost a game in more than a month, was beaten by a team it had outscored 39-13 over a three-game stretch just five days earlier.

The UTSA Roadrunners tied a C-USA tourney record with seven doubles, including a record-tying three by shortstop C.J. Pickering enroute to their victory.

Southern Miss will face Louisiana Tech, which lost to Charlotte last night, in an elimination game today at 12:30 p.m.

“It’s been a great tournament,” said Bennett, whose Overtime Sports manages MGM Park and is overseeing the Conference USA tournament, the first year of a three-year deal for Biloxi’s MGM Park.

“We’ve had great help from the volunteers, and we’ve had nothing but good response from the fans,” Bennett added. “It’s been very competitive baseball.”

Today’s lineup:

9 a.m.: Florida Atlantic vs. FIU

12:30 p.m.: Louisiana Tech vs, Southern Miss

4 p.m.:  Rice vs. Old Dominion.

7:30 p.m.:  UTSA vs. Charlotte


Conference USA news and notes

See the bracket: To see the updated tournament bracket, with results from yesterday’s games, click here.

See it now: To see ESPN online pitch-by-pitch coverage of the Florida Atlantic-FIU contest, which began at 9 a.m., click here.

See the recaps: The Conference USA website has game recaps, stats and photos from opening day games. To go there now, click here.