USM, Powell dominate Tulane, 12-3

USM, Powell dominate Tulane, 12-3

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi sophomore right-hander Walker Powell said he just wanted to forget his previous outing at the University of Alabama on March 7 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The one he turned in Wednesday night against Tulane University at Turchin Stadium, he might want to keep tucked away in the memory banks.

Powell pitched six scoreless innings, allowing four singles while walking none and striking out six as the 15th-ranked Golden Eagles dominated the Green Wave 12-3.

"I felt a lot more comfortable as opposed to last week," Powell said. "As a whole, this year, that was about the most comfortable I've felt. Pitches were working, I was down in the zone and it's easy to pitch behind an offense like we've got."

The six innings were a career-best for Powell (1-1) and the six strikeouts were a season-high.

The 6-foot-5 Powell, who physically and mentally still is rounding into game shape after a second Tommy John surgery that cost him the 2017 season, faced 19 batters, one over the minimum for a six-inning stretch, and threw just 65 pitches in one of the best outings of his collegiate career.

"It started on the mound with Walker Powell, obviously, throwing up a lot of zeroes and really just being in the driver's seat from the first pitch on," USM coach Scott Berry said. "(The numbers/results Powell produced), that's going to win you some ballgames there."

As will 15 hits and eight walks against eight pitchers, as the Golden Eagles (12-4) managed Wednesday.

Outfielder Mason Irby went 4-for-4 with a walk, driving in three runs and scoring once. Outfielder Matt Wallner, first baseman Hunter Slater, designated hitter Daniel Keating and second baseman Matt Guidry each had two hits.

Wallner drove in a pair of runs with his second, two-run home run in three games, and scored twice. Slater scored three runs, Keating two and Guidry reached base four times.

Tulane (8-10), which is playing 18 games in 24 days, mustered just five singles. Six walks issued over the final three innings helped the Green Wave avoid its first shutout at the hands of USM since 2013.

"The past few games, going back to Alabama, we'd kind of been going slow, and hadn't really put a whole game together, as far as hitting, pitching and defense, and that was kind of the focus going into this game, put a complete game together."

USM turned a trio of double plays and had a baserunner caught stealing. The Golden Eagles collected eight hits and seven walks over the first three innings, leading 11-0.

"Everything was clicking," Irby said.

The Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Keating reached on an infield single, took second on a passed ball and scored on Irby's double into the left-field corner.

USM added four runs in the third inning

After third baseman Luke Reynolds walked with one out for the second time in three innings, Wallner sent an offering from Tulane starter Chase Solesky (1-1) season over the right-field wall for a 3-0 lead.

Slater singled, and after Keating flew out, moved to third base on catcher Cole Donaldson's single. Irby then dropped a shallow fly into left field to score Slater, and Donaldson scored on an error for a 5-0 lead.

The Golden Eagles put up six runs in the fourth inning. USM loaded the bases with one out off reliever Ross Massey on a single, a hit batsman and a walk.

Ryan Green replaced Massey and proceeded to walk Keating, Irby and shortstop LeeMarcus Boyd among the four batters he faced to force in three runs as USM took an 8-0 lead.

Justin Campbell relieved Green, and was greeted by a two-run single by pinch-hitter Gabe Montenegro and a RBI-single by Guidry.

USM made it 12-0 in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Donaldson.

Tulane broke through against USM's bullpen for three runs in the eighth inning on a bases-loaded walk, a single by third baseman Kody Hoese and a passed ball.

By then, USM had well in hand its first victory over the Green Wave in New Orleans since 2015.

"A lot of history here, both good and bad, and (Wednesday), I thought our guys came in really focused and really competed," Berry said.

USM will open Conference USA play this weekend, welcoming the University of Texas-San Antonio for a three-game set at Pete Taylor Park starting at 6 p.m. Friday.

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