Guidry leads offense, Southern Miss claims C-USA Tournament ChampionshipBy CAMAL PETRO,
BILOXI – He’ll be the first to say it. Oak Grove native Matthew Guidry doesn’t play for individual awards. He said it before the season and he repeated it after the Golden Eagles raised the Conference USA Tournament trophy Sunday at MGM Park.
Guidry led the team with a .533 batting average throughout the tournament.
“I really don’t think about the person awards and all that stuff,” he said. “I just try to play the best game that I can for this club. Whether that’s get eight hits in a week or whether that’s get every sacrifice bunt down when I need to. Whatever I have to do to help this team win is what I’m cool with.”
He can say what he wants, but his numbers through the five games this week in Biloxi were eye-popping. The redshirt sophomore went 8-for-15 from the plate with three walks, four runs and four RBI, and he saved his best performance for the biggest stage of the week – the C-USA Championships Final.
On Sunday in the second game of the day, he went 3-for-4 with a walk, four runs and an RBI. He helped lead Southern Miss to a dominant 12-3 win over Florida Atlantic to claim the school’s first tournament championship since 2016.
It was also the first time Southern Miss swept the regular season title and tournament championship since 2003.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Guidry said of the championship. “We have a lot more winning to do, a lot more goals to achieve, but it feels good to have this and bring it back to Hattiesburg.”
Guidry walked in the first inning then scored when sophomore Matt Wallner hit his 16th home run of the season – his third of the tournament. In the fifth inning, he singled and came around to score after Wallner singled up the middle, then another single and another run in the seventh inning helped push Southern Miss ahead 7-3.
He put an explanation point on his week in the eighth inning, doubling to left-center field to score LeeMarcus Boyd. He would score later in the inning, too.
Guidry hit in the eighth spot through the first couple of games in the tournament, but he was moved into the second spot for the final three games. He went 2-for-4 in the eight-hole and 6-for-11 in the two-hole.
“Batting eighth isn’t all that bad,” he said. “I did it all last year. This is my first year batting second. It gave me a chance to turn the lineup over and get the big dogs up in the top of the order. Batting second is awesome, too.”
Southern Miss had four players land on the All-Tournament Team, and all four did their part to help bring the tournament title back to Southern Miss. Gabe Montenegro, Matt Wallner, Nick Sandlin and Tournament MVP, Mason Strickland were all named to the team.