(WDAM) _ Senior first baseman Hunter Slater mashed his way into the University of Southern Mississippi baseball record books Wednesday night as the Golden Eagles battered the University of New Orleans 15-2 at Maestri Field in New Orleans.
Slater drove in eight runs with three home runs and fielder’s choice, tying records for homers and RBIs in a single game, as USM (26-13) won its fifth consecutive contest by avenging a 2-1 loss on Feb. 26 to the Privateers (19-22).
Slater became just the third player with eight RBIs in a game, joining Tommy Davis in 1994 and Fed Cooley in 1988.
Slater, who has hit nine home runs on the season, became the ninth Golden Eagle to hit three home runs in a game and the first since Trey Cuevas turned the trick in 2006.
After USM fell behind 1-0 in the second inning, Slater tied the game in the third with a RBI-fielder’s choice ground out.
He capped a six-run uprising in the fourth inning with an opposite-way, two-run homer to left field, smacked another opposite-way, two-run homer to left-center field in the sixth inning and then finished up another six-run rally in the eighth inning with a two-out, three run blast to right field.
Reliever Josh Lewis (1-0) picked up his first victory as a Golden Eagle, allowing two hits in three scoreless innings.
UNO starter Courtlynn Ramirez (0-2) took the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out two, walked one.
Ramirez hurt himself in the fourth inning, hitting right fielder Matt Wallner and catcher Cole Donaldson with pitches to start the frame. After getting a strikeout, Ramirez allowed consecutive, run-scoring singles to third baseman Danny Lynch, shortstop Will McGillis and left fielder Gabe Montenegro to put USM up 4-1.
Ramirez was lifted in favor of Christopher DeMayo, who gave up a run-scoring grounder to Matt Guidry before Slater’s first home run of the game made it a 7-1 game.
Slater made it 9-1 in the sixth and the Golden Eagles put the game away in the seventh. USM loaded the bases when Hunter LeBlanc doubled, Danny Lynch walked and McGillis was hit by a pitch.
LeBlanc scored on a wild pitch for a 10-1 lead, and after Montenegro walked to reload the bases, Guidry followed with a two-run single and Slater with his three-run blast.
Guidry had two singles, three RBIs and two runs scored, Montenegro also singled twice, scored a run and drove in another and McGillis had two base hits, scored three runs and drove in a run. Lynch had a single and walk and scored twice.
Bryant Bowen, who came in riding the nation’s longest hitting streak at 22 games, saw it snapped with an 0-for-5 evening at the plate.
UNO managed just six hits, including five singles. Antonio Gauthier had an RBI-double in the second inning to give the Privateers their only lead.
USM will travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn., this weekend for a three-game Conference USA series at Middle Tennessee State University.