USM shuts out Xavier twice in doubleheader sweep

USM shuts out Xavier twice in doubleheader sweep

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Friday night, Xavier University shut out the University of Southern Miss in a 2-0 victory at Taylor Park.

Saturday afternoon, the Golden Eagles repaid the favor, sixfold.

USM's pitching blanked the Musketeers over 18 innings Saturday, as the Golden Eagles claimed 2-0 and 10-0 victories.

The teams played a pair of games Saturday to avoid expected inclement weather that had been forecast for Saturday night and Sunday morning.

After Xavier (7-9) scored a run each in of the first two innings Friday night, the Musketeers failed to score again.

"You give up those two runs (Friday) night and then go 25 scoreless innings, I thought that was a major, major contribution from all those guys, from starters to relievers," USM coach Scott Berry said. "I was very pleased (Saturday) after coming off a disappointing loss.

"Now, we got beat (Friday). It was a good college baseball game, and we got beat, got beat by a very good left-handed pitcher. But we knew what we had to do (Saturday), and the challenge was to come out and win the series, and the only way to do that was to win two games, one at a time."

In the opener, the Golden Eagles (11-4) scratched across two runs in the fourth inning, and junior right-hander Hayden Roberts did the rest.

Roberts (1-1), who had started on Friday nights in the Golden Eagles' three previous series, came within an out of a complete game, limiting Xavier to two hits in a career-high 8 2/3 innings, with eight strikeouts and two walks.

"I really tried to go deeper in the ballgame, which is a weakness that I've had for quite a while," Roberts said. "Sometimes I try to strike too many people out (instead) of forcing contact early."

In the ninth, he issued a one-out walk and then gave up a two-out single before Nick Sandlin came in to strike out the final batter and pick up his first save.

"That last out is going to eat at me for a while," Roberts said.

Garrett Schilling (1-2) took the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two.

In the second game, sophomore J.C. Keys(1-1) scattered three hits over a career-best six innings in his first USM start and the Golden Eagles hit five home runs, including the first two of Casey Maack's collegiate career.

Daniel Keating and Taylor Braley hit solo shots in the first inning off starter Greg Jacknewitz (0-2) for a 2-0 lead, and Dylan Burdeaux's fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot, sparked a three-run third inning.

Maack led off the fourth inning with his first homer of the year, and then added a two-run blast in his next at bat in the sixth inning.

Bryant Bowen added a two-run double in the seventh inning to polish off the Musketeers.

Keys combined with three relievers to limit Xavier to five hits.

"There were some nerves, being the first one, but I thought it went pretty well," Keys said. "I was able to settle in and get it locked down."

Keating finished the day with five hits, including two doubles and his first home run of the season. Hunter Slater saw a 14-game hitting streak come to an end in the second game after hitting a triple and single in the first game.

USM will host Columbia at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the first of two-game, midweek set.