Donaldson double gives USM walk-off win

Golden Eagles score 4 runs in bottom of 9th inning to top UL-Lafayette, 7-6

Donaldson double gives USM walk-off win

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ Cole Donaldson’s two-out double off the wall just right of center field capped a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night that lifted the University of Southern Miss to a 7-6 victory over the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Golden Eagles (25-13) extended their winning streak to four games with their third walk-off win of the season at Pete Taylor Park.

It also marked the second consecutive season that USM had downed Louisiana-Lafayette in Hattiesburg with a ninth-inning rally, taking a 9-8 walk-off win on April 3, 2018.

Tuesday night, UL-Lafayette (20-24) had broken a 3-3 tie with a single run in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh and held a 6-3 lead heading into the Golden Eagles’ final at-bats.

Will McGillis was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Gabe Montenegro coaxed a walk off right-hander Jacob Schultz.

Matt Guidry followed with a run-scoring single to pull USM within 6-4, and after a fly out, Bryant Bowen followed with third hit of the game, an infield single up the middle that scored Montenegro and sent Guidry to third.

Fred Franklin pinch-ran for Bowen and Schultz was lifted in favor of right-hander Connor Cooke.

Matt Wallner lifted a 2-1 pitch to center field for a sacrifice fly that scored Guidry and tied the game 6-6.

With Franklin still at first, Donaldson sent an 0-2 offering over the head of center fielder Brennan Breaux and off wall to his left. That allowed the speedy Franklin ample time to circle the bases with the game-winning run.

The victory served as payback of sorts after the Ragin’ Cajuns beat the Golden Eagles 6-5 on March 13 on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning in Lafayette, La.

USM reliever Hunter Stanley (4-0) finished with a career-best five strikeouts and picked up the pitching victory by allowing two runs on four hits over the last three innings.

Schultz (1-2) took the loss, allowing four runs on three hits on 1 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out one.

Bowen drove in three runs, including two with his seventh home run of the season in the third inning that tied the game 3-3.

That hit extended Bowen’s hitting streak to 22 consecutive games, the eighth-longest hitting streak in the program’s history.

Donaldson and Blake Blaylock also had multiple hits for USM with two each.

Handsome Monica swatted a two-run home run in the Cajuns’ three-run, third inning. Hunter Kasuls had three of the Cajuns’ 13 hits.

USM will begin a four-game road trip Wednesday, when the Golden Eagles visit the University of New Orleans at 6:30 p.m. at Maestri Field.-

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