HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ The University of Southern Miss scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night to take a come-from-behind, 5-4 victory over the University of Louisiana-Monroe at Pete Taylor Park.
Brant Blaylock’s double brought home Matthew Guidry with the game-tying run and Cole Donaldson’s sacrifice fly brought in Hunter Slater with the game-winning run as the Golden Eagles won their eighth time in the last nine games.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we had the past weekend, but we’re doing better at the plate,” USM coach Scott Berry said. “We had a pretty balanced lineup (Tuesday), offensively.”
USM (12-6) swept Louisiana Tech University over the weekend in Ruston, La., scoring 27 runs on 40 hits. Tuesday, the Golden Eagles extended their streak of games with at least 10 hits.
Slater had three singles and scored three runs, Matt Wallner walked three times and drove in a run with a double and Bryant Bowen and Guidry each drove home a run.
“At Louisiana Tech, you got a sneak preview of what we can do and what we expect to do every night,” said Blaylock, who returned to the everyday lineup over the weekend after being sidelined since late February by a wrist sprain that left him unable to swing a bat.
“The energy was a little lower then we wanted (Tuesday), but we’re a good team and we found a way to win, so that’s all you can ask for.”
J.C. Keys, who gave up three hits in the top of the eighth inning as the Warhawks rallied for a 4-3 lead, closed the door in the ninth inning, allowing a two-out single but striking out three.
“All gas, no brakes,” Keys said, “Just fill the zone up and let the defense work behind me.”
Louisiana-Monroe (7-13), coached by former long-time Southern Miss assistant Michael Federico, got on board in the first inning when Trent Tingelstad hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot to right field off USM starter Gabe Shepard.
Shephard wound up striking out the other five Warhawks he faced over his first two innings.
USM tied the game in the third inning when Slater led off with a single and Wallner followed with a run-scoring double an out later.
The Golden Eagles went up 2-1 in the fifth inning on four walks, and made it a two-run game in the sixth inning on Will McGillis’ single, a double by Gabe Montenegro and Guidry’s sacrifice fly.
ULM led off the eighth inning with consecutive singles, forcing USM reliever Alex Nelms from the game and bringing in Keys from the bullpen.
Keys struck out Ryan Humeniuk, but Tingelstad doubled down the right-field line to tie the game and Chad Bell followed with a run-scoring grounder through a drawn-in infield for a 4-3 Warhawks’ lead.
But USM came back. With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Gudiry walked and moved to third base on Slater’s third single of the night. Blaylock then turned on a fastball from ULM reliever Richard Hebert (0-1) and ripped a double inside the third-base bag to tie the score and send Slater to third base.
The Warhawks intentionally walked Wallner to load the bases, but Donaldson thwarted the strategy, lifting a fly ball to medium center field off ULM reliever Logan McDowell that brought home Slater with the go-ahead run.
Keys (1-0) opened the ninth by striking Logan Wurm and Braedon Barrett. Brendan Jordan laced a clean single into shallow left-center with two outs, but Keys struck out Masen Prososki to end the game.