HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ For a second consecutive game to open the 2019 baseball season, the University of Southern Mississippi found itself trailing Purdue University Saturday evening at Pete Taylor Park.
But with USM’s pitching carving up the Boilermakers’ stout hitting lineup, the Golden Eagles were able to rally for a second consecutive win.
Stevie Powers and Cody Carroll combined on a three-hitter as USM came back to take a 4-2 victory Saturday evening at Pete Taylor Park.
“We limited a good-hitting team to just three hits, and the two runs we gave up, some of that was self-inflicted,” USM coach Scott Berry said. “But I think when you look at our body of work (Saturday), I think you’ll see that our pitching staff just kept us in the game and gave our offense a chance to score later in the game.”
Brant Blaylock knocked in USM’s first run in a three-run sixth inning by sneaking a ground ball past a drawn-in infield into left field, and Storme Cooper gave the Golden Eagles the lead for good, scooting a grounder through the right side for a 3-2 lead.
“We squared up a lot of balls against their lefty (starter Ryan Beard), but sometimes the ball finds holes, and sometimes it finds gloves,” Berry said. “But I thought we had a really good approach and we just stayed to our plan and we finally made some plays.”
Fred Franklin knocked in an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Golden Eagles (2-0) clinched the best-of-three series with the visiting Boilermakers (0-2).
USM won 7-6 Friday night in the 10th inning after erasing a 6-4 deficit going into the bottom of the eighth inning.
Powers (1-0) allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits over six innings. He walked none and struck out six. Carroll picked up the save with three scoreless innings, allowing an infield single while walking none and striking out one.
Powers sandwiched balking in Purdue’s second run around the final two outs of the third inning and then whistled through the next three innings, setting down 11 consecutive batters.
Carroll retired the first six batters he faced, extending the streak to 17, before Purdue leadoff man Cole McKenzie slipped a singled into the hole at short to lead off the ninth.
But Carroll got Owen Jansen to ground into a double play and then got another groundout to second base to end the game.
Beard (0-1) gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked a batter and struck out one.
USM first baseman Hunter Slater collected three more hits Saturday, giving him five in seven at-bats to open the season.
Cooper, Matt Wallner and Cole Donaldson each had a pair of singles, as USM collected 11 hits against three Purdue pitchers.
Slater, Wallner, Blaylock and Donaldson each scored a run.
Sunday’s series finale saw first pitch moved to 10:30 a.m. because of inclement weather expected later in the day.
USM is scheduled to throw right-hander Jarod Wright against Purdue right-hander Andrew Bohm.