This is a press release from Southern Miss athletics
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Southern Miss baseball team kicked off the 2016 campaign with a 6-1 victory over Eastern Illinois on Friday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg. Tied 1-1, the Golden Eagles posted three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to break the stalemate and never relinquished control of the game after that.
Offensively, the Black and Gold belted out 14 hits on the day, including a pair of home runs. Eight different players recorded hits in the game with four players notching multiple-hit performances.
Jake Sandlin and Chuckie Robinson each fished the game 3-for-4. Sandlin recorded a home run, while scoring a pair of runs and driving in another, while Robinson finished with a double, a run scored and a RBI. Taylor Braley and Dylan Burdeaux each added a pair of hits in the game with Braley recording the first home run of the season for the Golden Eagles and Burdeaux adding a double.
On the mound, Cord Cockrell earned his first victory of the season, tossing 7.0 innings. The senior scattered six hits, allowing just one run, which was unearned. Cockrell did not allow a free pass, while striking out six Panthers.
Austin Millet entered the game in relief. The redshirt freshman posted 2.0 perfect innings. Millet faced the minimum six batters, not allowing a walk or a hit and recording three strikeouts.
Eastern Illinois was the first team to scratch the scoreboard, plating a run in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Frankie Perrone doubled to center field to put a runner in scoring position for the Panthers. He advanced to third on a single and came around to score on a fielding error by the Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss evened the score in the bottom of the frame. Braley lifted the first pitch he saw over the center field fence for his first home run of the season.
Tied 1-1, the Golden Eagles scratched out three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take control of the game. Robinson and Sandlin led off the inning with back-to-back singles, leaving the home team with runners on the corners. Southern Miss benefited from an Eastern Illinois balk to score Robinson from third and break the tie. Sandlin moved to within 90 feet of home on a wild pitch. Nick Dawson drew a walk to continue the inning and Burdeaux followed with a RBI single to right field. Tracy Hadley dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners. Tim Lynch was intentionally walked to load the bases. Chase Scott was hit by a pitch to drive in the third run of the inning and give Southern Miss a 4-1 advantage.
The Black and Gold added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth and seventh innings. With two outs in the fifth, Sandlin bounced a solo home run off of the new padding on the center field wall for his first Division I home run. In the seventh, the Golden Eagles used a single by Braley, a wild pitch, and a one-out RBI double by Robinson to increase the lead to 6-1.
Millet entered the game in the top of the eighth and shut the Panthers down in order for the final two frames to preserve the five-run victory.
Southern Miss and Eastern Illinois continue the three-game series on Saturday with a single game. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. with right-handed pitcher Jake Winston toeing the rubber for the Golden Eagles. Live stats, live video, and in-game tweets (@USMGoldenEagles) will be available throughout the game.