Southern Miss defeats Charlotte 9-6

Southern Miss defeats Charlotte 9-6
The Golden Eagles will conclude spring drills at noon Saturday with the annual Black and Gold Game at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

Press release from Southern Miss Athletics

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Taylor Braley homered twice and Southern Miss fought off a late Charlotte rally to capture the series opener, 9-6, Friday night at Hayes Stadium.

The Golden Eagles (20-7 overall, 6-1 C-USA) won for the 16th time in the last 17 regular-season league games dating back to last season.

Tracy Hadley led the Golden Eagles' 15-hit attack with three, while Braley, Chuckie Robinson, Jake Sandlin, Storme Cooper and Nick Dawson added two hits each. The 15 hits tied a season high for the squad.

Southern Miss used a six-run sixth to break open a 2-2 score to capture the series opener.

Jake Sandlin led off the frame with a walk, After Cooper was hit by a pitch, Dawson doubled both runners in with a shot down the leftfield line. The senior shortstop ended the night with three RBI.

After Burdeaux reached on a misfielded bunt by starter Sean Geoghegan, Tracy Hadley singled in Dawson to make it 6-3. Tim Lynch then sacrificed, before the 49ers went to the bullpen and Brandon Vogler replaced Sean Geoghegan and was promptly greeted with a three-run homer by Braley to make the score 8-2.

Braley, who hit a solo shot in the fifth to give the Golden Eagles a 2-1 advantage, now has 10 round-trippers on the season. It marks the first time a Southern Miss player has hit 10 or more home runs since Blake Brown did it in 2013.

Charlotte took the initial lead with a run in the opening frame on a run-scoring ground out, but Southern Miss tied the score in the fourth on a RBI groundout of its own by Cooper.

After Braley's first homer, the 49ers (12-14, 2-4) tied the score again in the fifth on a RBI single by Drew Ober.

Charlotte then added one in the sixth and chased Southern Miss starter Cord Cockrell with three more runs in the eighth, but the Golden Eagles added an insurance run in the final frame as Jake Sandlin tripled to lead off the frame and then scored on a Dawson single.

Sandlin's younger brother, freshman Nick Sandlin, came in with one out in the eighth and retired the final five Charlotte batters, four by strikeouts, to earn his third save of the year.

Cockrell collected the victory and improved to 5-0 on the year, allowing six runs (five earned) over a career-long 7 1/3 innings on nine hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

Geoghegan suffered the loss to fall to 1-4, after giving up seven runs (six earned) on nine hits with two walks and two punchouts.

The two teams continue the series with a 1 p.m., CT start on Saturday.