Press release from Southern Miss Athletics
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- One night after rallying late to beat Southeastern Louisiana University on the road, Southern Miss saw the Lions return the favor Wednesday night.
SLU scored four runs - three unearned - over the final three innings to get past the Golden Eagles 4-2 before 2,432 at Taylor Park.
Southern Miss, which had scored five runs in the eighth and ninth innings including three unearned, to knock off the Lions 9-7 Tuesday night in Hammond, La., saw a 15-game regular-season winning streak in Hattiesburg snapped with its first loss on its home diamond this season.
“Honestly, just what they did (Tuesday) night is what we did (Wednesday),” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said of two errors and three walks that contributed to the Golden Eagles’ downfall. “We’ve had a pretty good run here, but this was an opportunity that we missed on. We didn’t do enough to win this ballgame.”
Southern Miss (11-3) managed just seven hits Wednesday and left 10 stranded, including eight men in scoring position.
“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball, but we just didn’t get it done (Wednesday night),” Berry said. “We just didn’t do enough offensively. We didn’t get that big hit. We leave 10 baserunners on for the game.
“But more importantly, I think the walks and the errors, particularly in that seventh inning, those were the things.”
Southern Miss had chances early.
Though held hitless through first three innings, the Golden Eagles drew five walks off SLU starter Josh Green over that stretch, but stranded all five, including four in scoring position.
Designated hitter Hunter Slater logged the Golden Eagles’ first hit of the evening, singling off reliever Gabe Von Rosenberg to lead off the fourth inning.
But Slater was picked off first with one out, which proved to be even more costly when, with two outs, second baseman Storme Cooper singled and shortstop Nick Dawson doubled. Right fielder Dylan Burdeaux grounded out to end the inning and strand two more in scoring position.
The Golden Eagles broke through in the fifth inning off Von Rosenberg.
Center fielder Jake Sandlin singled, moved to third on third baseman Taylor Braley’s double and scored on catcher Chuckie Robinson’s first-pitch single to center.
Slater’s sacrifice fly scored Braley to make it 2-0, but Robinson was doubled up on a base-running gaffe, running on contact and unable to get back to first base in time.
“We had a chance to extend the inning, but make a base-running mistake,” Berry said.
The Lions tied the game with two outs in the seventh inning, scoring two unearned runs against reliever Nick Sandlin.
After SLU left fielder Ryan Bryers drew a one-out walk, Sandlin threw away an infield chopper by right fielder Julian Service that left runners at second and third base.
Sandlin got catcher Chris Eades on an infield popup, but walked third baseman Kennon Menard to load the bases.
Center fielder Jacob Seward followed with a hard grounder to the right of the second base bag. A diving Cooper knocked down the ball, keeping it in the infield, but both Bryers and Service scored to tie the game 2-2.
SLU (7-6) took the lead in the eighth with another unearned run.
First baseman Jameson Fisher drew a full-count, leadoff walk off Sandlin and stole second. SLU second baseman Carson Crites then lined out, but Braley threw wild into right field trying to double up Fisher, instead sending him to third.
Fisher scored a batter later on designated hitter Daniel Midyett’s huge, infield chop to the right side.
Southern Miss threatened in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs, but Dawson flew out to right field to end the threat.
Service gave the Lions their final, two-run pad by taking the first pitch of the ninth inning off reliever Walker Powell over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season.
Sandlin (0-1) suffered the first loss of his collegiate career, allowing three unearned runs on one hit in 2 1/3 innings. He walked three while striking out one.
Reliever Carlo Graffeo (1-0), the third of three Lions’ pitchers, threw two perfect innings to pick up the win, while Derrick Mount picked up his first save of the season.
With two singles, Robinson was the lone Golden Eagles’ batter with more than one hit, while Seward ad Service had two hits apiece in SLU’s seven-hit evening.
Southern Miss is scheduled to host Samford in a three-game weekend set, starting at 6 p.m. Friday night. Games also are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.