HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ Walker Powell and Stevie Powers delivered from the mound Friday and the University of Southern Mississippi collected 29 hits and scored 21 runs in sweeping a Conference USA doubleheader from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
In the opener, Powell kept the 49ers off the scoreboard for eight innings and Bryant Bowen and Matt Wallner each homered in a five-run, first inning as the Golden Eagles ran away with a 14-3 victory.
In the nightcap, Powers allowed one run in seven innings and Danny Lynch capped a six-hit day by going 4-for-4 with three runs scored in a 7-1 victory..
Lynch (13 games) and Bowen (20 games) got at least one hit in each of the games to extend their respective hitting streaks as the Golden Eagles claimed their fourth C-USA series of the season.
“We’d kinda been struggling lately, but we finally put some stuff together and started having fun again,” Lynch said. “We had started playing tight, but we had fun (Friday), and I thought it worked out pretty well for us.”
USM (23-13, 13-4 C-USA) won its third consecutive game, while the 49ers (14-23, 5-11=1) lost for the eighth time in the last 10 games.
“Our pitchers went right after it,” USM coach Scott Berry said. “They attacked the game and went right after the (strike) zone. They had a great mix of all pitches.
“Charlotte hit a lot of balls hard, but right at people. Credit our defense for being able to get those outs when presented to them, but yeah, Powell and Powers, two good starts.”
The Golden Eagles peppered Charlotte pitching for 16 hits in the opener, including Bowen’s sixth homer of the season, and Wallner’s eighth of the year.
Both long balls came in a five-run first inning, just a half inning after Powell (4-2) worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam.
The 49ers knocked Powell around for 10 hits, but could not score until he gave up hits to the first three batters in the ninth inning. For the game, Powell walked just one and struck out five.
Lynch, who had two singles in the opener, drove in three runs and scored twice. On the morning/afternoon, Lynch went 6-of-7 with a walk, scoring five runs and knocking in three.
“I’m starting to attack more, not going so deep in the counts all the time,” said Lynch, who is hitting .490 with 12 runs scored and 10 RBIs during his streak. “Early in the season, I was watching a lot of pitches, but I’m down there in the order (eighth), so I’ve just been more aggressive early in the count.”
After tagging Charlotte starter Bryce McGowan (2-5) for five runs in the first inning, USM added a run in the sixth inning, three runs in the seventh and five more in the eighth inning.
First baseman Hunter Slater had a team-high three hits among the Golden Eagles’ 16-hit attack and drove in four runs. Wallner and left fielder Gabe Montenegro each had two hits.
In the nightcap, Powers (3-3) limited the 49ers to four singles over the first six innings before Charlotte bunched three singles in the seventh inning for its lone run.
By then, USM held a 7-0 lead, as Slater and second baseman Matt Guidry drove in a pair of runs and Montenegro scored twice. Guidry, Montenegro and center fielder Hunter LeBlanc each had two of the Golden Eagles’ 13 hits.
Powers went a season-best seven innings, allowing one run on seven hits. He walked none, struck out four.
Charlotte starter Ryan Czanstkowski (1-5) took the loss, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 12 hits. He struck out two, walked one.
The teams are scheduled to wrap up the three-game series at 10 a.m. Saturday.