GREENVILLE, N.C. – Chase Fowler drove in three runs, including a pair of game-tying RBIs in the eighth and the go-ahead run in the 11th, to lead Southern Miss to a 10-9 Conference USA extra-inning baseball victory over East Carolina here Saturday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Golden Eagles improved to 25-20 overall and 14-6 in C-USA play, keeping a two-game advantage in the league standings ahead of UCF. Southern Miss will vie for its sixth consecutive league series victory in a 10 a.m., CT game Sunday finale. Southern Miss improved to 2-2 in extra innings and also tied for the longest game in terms of innings this season as the Auburn contest in Mobile on March 20 also went 11 frames.
Mason Robbins and Dillon Day paced the Golden Eagle 13-hit attack with three apiece, while Fowler and Bradley Roney added two hits each.
After leading for the first seven innings of the game, thanks to a four-run top of the first, the Golden Eagles found themselves down by three runs heading into the ninth after ECU plated five runs, which included a three-run homer by Zach Houchins, his fifth, in the bottom of the eighth. Houchins led the Pirates with three hits and three RBI.
It was Isaac Rodriguez, though, who walked and Robbins followed by getting on base courtesy of a Pirate fielding error to start the ninth. Roney loaded the bases with a single through the left side, before Day singled in the first run. Fowler, who was hitting eighth in the Golden Eagle order, tied the game with a two-run double sending the game into extra innings.
The game remained tied until the 11th, when Fowler delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly – his 26th of the season - and Andrew Furr followed with an RBI single to give USM a 10-8 advantage. The Pirates (25-22, 9-8) got a run in their half of the inning on a sacrifice fly but Roney held on for the victory to improve to 1-0 on the season.
Roney threw a season-high 3 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on four hits with a walk as he finished as the fourth Golden Eagle pitcher of the day. USM starter Andrew Pierce allowed three runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 frames and walked a career-high four, while fanning five.
ECU closer Drew Reynolds, the third of four Pirate hurlers, suffered the loss by allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk to fall to 3-2.
The Pirates allowed eight unearned runs on the day, as they committed four errors in the contest. Southern Miss, meanwhile, did not commit an error and turned four double plays in the contest to up their total to 64 for the season. They ranked tied for second in the country heading into the weekend with Mississippi State.
In the four-run first for the Eagles, Roussel started the game by reaching on a wild pitch after a strikeout and Creel followed by getting on via a ECU throwing error. After a walk to load the bases, Robbins drove in the first run with a single and Roney then got two runs home as he hit one that got between the legs of third baseman Houchins. Day then singled in the final run of the first.
USM went up 5-3 in the eighth as Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch.
The Pirates got back into the game with two runs in the sixth, another in the seventh and then had their big blow of five runs in the eighth.