Southern Miss can't complete comeback, fall to South Alabama 5-3 - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Southern Miss can't complete comeback, fall to South Alabama 5-3

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - South Alabama pitcher Kyle Bartsch took the mound in relief of starter Phillip Byrd, and gave up only two hits, no runs and struck out two more in stalling a Southern Miss comeback and preserving a 5-3 Jaguar win.

Southern Miss (8-5) almost completed a comeback, even after a disastrous top half of the fifth inning. Starting pitcher Taylor Nunez hit the first batter he faced, threw two wild pitches and gave up a hit and a run, while a stolen base, a catchers interference call and two more runs capped off the rest of the low-lights. South Alabama (4-8) led 4-1 after that inning.

The Golden Eagles rejuvenated Pete Taylor Park in the bottom frame of the sixth inning. Ashley Graeter had his only hit of the night, a stand-up double to deep center, to start the rally. After advancing to third, Graeter dove across home plate after a throwing error by left fielder Nick Zaharion. A sac fly from Ryan Ellis cut the Jaguar lead to 4-3, but Bartsch took over after the first out, struck out Chase Fowler and forced Travis Creel into a ground ball that left two base runners stranded.

The Jaguars scored one more, and it proved to be enough. After walking Conference USA hitter of the week Blake Brown, Bartsch loaded the bases with two away in the bottom of the seventh inning. But Ellis grounded to first, and South Alabama escaped the inning unscathed. That outcome might have been different had second baseman Michael Sterling not been picked off attempting to steel second.

The play gave the Jaguars the second out of the inning, and the Golden Eagles never threatened again. Southern Miss, who saw its three-game winning streak against the Jaguars snapped, takes the loss having out-hit South Alabama 10-9.

Byrd (1-0) earned the win, while Nunez (1-1) took the loss. The Golden Eagles next travel to Lafayette, La. for a three-game series with Louisiana-Lafayette starting March 9 at 6:00 pm.

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