HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ Matt Wallner and Erick Hoard each hit two-run singles in a two-out rally that gave the University of Southern Miss the lead for good on its way to an 8-3 victory over Southern University-Baton Rouge on a chilly Wednesday night at Pete Taylor Park.
Southern Miss (5-5) snapped a five-game losing streak by rallying from a 3-2 deficit after 3 ½ innings. The Golden Eagles sent nine batters to the plate in a decisive four-run, fourth inning.
Southern Miss tacked on a run in each of the sixth and eighth innings to win at home for the first time since the season-opening series with Purdue University.
Six Golden Eagles checked the Jaguars (6-6) on eight hits, including just two after the first four innings, and struck out a season-high 13 batters.
USM managed just seven hits, but collected 12 walks from seven Jaguars’ pitchers. Still, the Golden Eagles left a season-high 14 runners on base.
USM grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Gabe Montenegro reached on a two-base error, moved to third ball on a fly ball and scored on Hunter Slater’s fielder's choice.
The Jaguars got to USM starter Josh Lewis for three runs in the second inning, a rally highlighted by Hampton Hunter’s two-run single.
The Golden Eagles got back within 3-2 in the third inning when Montenegro walked, moved to third base on Matthew Guidry’s single to right field and scored on Hoard’s sacrifice fly.
In the fourth inning, Southern U. reliever Charles Bailey gave up an infield single to Fred Franklin to start the inning before logging the next two outs.
Bailey then hit Montenegro with a pitch and walked Guidry to load the bases before Wallner sent a single through the middle to give USM a 4-3 lead.
After Slater walked to reload the bases, Hoard followed with a single the opposite way to right field to put the Golden Eagles ahead by three runs after four innings.
USM reliever Cody Carroll worked with runners on base in both of his two innings, including a dicey sixth inning when he allowed the first two batters to reach on singles. But then struck out the next three batters to get out of trouble.
Sean Tweedy, Aaron Ginn and Brant Blaylock pitched an inning apiece over the final three walks, allowing only a walk between them.
Hunter Stanley (2-0), who relived Lewis after two innings, picked up the pitching win. Stanley threw two scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out two.
Bailey (0-1) took the loss, allowing four runs on two hits in 2/3 of an inning. He walked two and struck out one.
Southern Miss will wrap up an eight-game homestand by hosting Holy Cross this weekend in a three-game set starting Friday.