Photo by Louisiana Tech Athletics
Story by Robert Wilson
No. 1 seed and Conference USA regular season champion Southern Miss didn’t win the C-USA Tournament championship, but a team coached by a Mississippian with 13 Mississippians on the roster came away with the tournament title.
West Lauderdale High and Southern Miss alumnus Lane Burroughs guided his Louisiana Tech team to their first tournament championship since 1987 with a 9-8 victory over University of Texas-San Antonio Sunday afternoon at Southern Miss’ Pete Taylor Park-Hill Denson Field in Hattiesburg.
Louisiana Tech senior right fielder Steele Netterville hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give No. 2 seed Louisiana Tech a win over No. 5 seed UTSA.
Louisiana Tech improved to 42-19, received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and won its first postseason conference tournament title since winning the Southland Conference in 1987. UTSA, 38-20, eliminated Southern Miss Saturday.
Louisiana Tech will play in the Austin Regional and Southern Miss will host the Hattiesburg Regional.
One of the 13 Mississippians on the Louisiana Tech roster – senior pitcher and Corinth High and Itawamba Community College alumnus Kyle Crigger – was the winning pitcher Sunday. He allowed one run and had one strikeout in his one inning, the ninth, to improve to 7-1 this season.
Burroughs grew up in Mississippi and coached in Mississippi until getting his first head coaching job at Northwestern (La.) State in 2013. He played for Jerry Boatner at West Lauderdale, former Southern Miss coach Corky Palmer at Meridian Community College and Tom Gladney at Mississippi College. After one year as a graduate assistant at MC, Burroughs was an assistant at East Mississippi CC (1997), Northwestern State (1998), Southern Miss (1999-2007), Kansas State (2008) and Mississippi State (2009-12). As an assistant, Burroughs was a part of eight teams, which played in regionals.
Burroughs spent four years as head coach at Northwestern State before being named head coach at Louisiana Tech in 2017.
He led Louisiana Tech its sixth 40-win season in school history and hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in school history last season and made it to the Regional championship game.
“We’ve been sweating it to try to get into a regional for the past month and now we don’t have to anymore,” Burroughs said. “I’m so proud of our guys, knowing we now can play next week and an opportunity to move on. It’s all because of these players and we’ve got some great ones. We wouldn’t have been able to do this with Crigger. He is our closer and has done an outstanding job this season. We challenged our guys in about the fifth inning and I think I actually pulled a back muscle doing it.”
Crigger has a conference-high nine saves and a 1.79 earned run average in 35 appearances. Crigger had the third lowest ERA in the country going into this week. The two Mississippians with the most playing time in the field this season has sophomore outfielder and Seminary High alumnus Adarius Myers and junior infielder and Clinton High alumnus Walker Burchfield. Myers started 41 games and hit .265 and Burchfield started 27 games and hit .202.
Other Mississippians on the roster are senior pitcher/outfielder Jackson Lancaster (Corinth), junior pitcher Tanner Knight (Eupora and East Central CC), junior pitcher Landon Tomkins (Northwest Rankin, Hinds CC), junior pitcher Cade Hodges (Loyd Star and Pearl River CC), sophomore infielder Ben Brantley (Hernando), sophomore outfielder Jesse Boydstun (Winston Academy and East Central CC), sophomore infielder Riggs Easterling (Mississippi Delta CC), freshman infielder Thaxton Berch (Jackson Prep), freshman infielder Colton Hegwood (Brandon) and freshman infielder Jeffrey Ince (Jackson Prep).