HATTIESBURG, Miss. –Southern Miss rallied for four runs late in the nightcap after Andrew Pierce recorded a complete-game victory in the opener to sweep Marshall, 4-1 and 8-7, here Saturday at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles (18-17 overall, 8-4 C-USA) pushed their season-best current winning streak to seven games as they went over the .500 mark for the first time since being 6-5 in early March. The winning streak is the longest for the club since March of 2011 when that team won seven consecutive contests.
Southern Miss trailed 7-4 in the eighth of the nightcap, when Tim Lynch led off the inning with a single. Blake Brown then followed with a single to left which was misplayed by Mardu Smith to allow pinch runner Michael Sterling to score.
With Brown at second, Bradley Roney bunted the runner to third before Isaac Rodriguez walked to put runners at the corners. Then Chase Fowler hit a grounder to Andrew Dundon at second whose throw to force Rodriguez at second went wildly into leftfield, allowing Brown to score.
With Rodriguez at third and Fowler now at second via the error, Dillon Day was intentionally walked to get to Austin Roussel. Roussel coaxed a walk to drive in the tying run, before Fowler scored a few moments later on Marshall reliever Josh King’s wild pitch. It was his second wild pitch of the inning and it ended the Golden Eagles scoring.
Reliever Bradley Roney then worked around a one-out double and a two-out walk to fan Matt Kirkwood on three pitches to pick his fourth save of the season.
Jake Winston, the fifth of six USM pitchers, garnered the win by getting a pair of outs and allowing just one hit to improve to 2-1.
Roussel and Rodriguez each led the Golden Eagles with two hits apiece. Southern Miss was out-hit in the contest 14-8.
King (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks with two stikeouts.
In the opener, Andrew Pierce limited Marshall to a run on three hits in his second complete game of the season. He fanned eight and walked two in the outing, retiring the final 10 batters he faced. The senior from Stringer, Miss., improved to 6-1 on the year and lowered his ERA to 1.83. In all nine starts this season, he has gone at least seven innings.
The Golden Eagles plated three runs in the fourth to put them up for good. After Tim Lynch reached on f ielding error to start the inning, Blake Brown doubled him home. Isaac Rodriguez then walked after a groundout and Chase Fowler then tripled down into the right-field corner to make the score 3-0.
After Marshall cut the gap in the sixth with an Eric Escobedo RBI single, Southern Miss added its final run in the seventh on a run-scoring single of its own by Mason Robbins.
Aaron Blair, the Marshall starter and reigning National Pitcher of the Week by several different media outlets, allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts to suffer the loss and fall to 5-2 on the campaign.
Southern Miss is now 14-1 against Marshall in Hattiesburg and has now swept three of four series here since the Thundering Herd joined Conference USA in 2006.
The Golden Eagles return to action Tuesday when they travel to Pearl to face Ole Miss at Trustmark Park. Game time is 6;30 p.m., and it will be the first of two meetings this season with the Rebels. The other will come in Hattiesburg on May 14.