(WDAM) _ The University of Southern Mississippi scored 10 runs over the final four innings to down Middle Tennessee State University 11-3 Saturday evening in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The Golden Eagles clinched the weekend set with the Blue Raiders after taking the first two games of the best-of-three Conference USA series.
With Florida Atlantic University dropping the first two games of a three-game series with Old Dominion University, the Golden Eagles (28-13, 16-4 C-USA) hold a two-game lead atop the conference standings.
MTSU (16-30, 9-11) led 3-0 after three innings Saturday, but USM scored three runs in the sixth inning, six in the seventh and another in the eighth to pocket its seventh consecutive win.
USM left-hander Stevie Powers only lasted an inning giving up two runs on three hits, but Cody Carroll (2-0) came on and allowed the Blue Raiders just one more run on five hits over the next seven innings and the Golden Eagles’ bats came alive down the stretch.
After scoring once in the fifth inning on a double-play grounder, USM took a 4-3 lead in the sixth on a two-run triple by Bryant Bowen and a run-scoring infield single by Matt Wallner.
The Golden Eagles blew the game open with two outs in the sixth inning.
Brant Blaylock and Will McGillis sandwiched a strikeout around a pair of walks. After a fielder’s choice grounder by Hunter LeBlanc left men at first and third, Matt Guidry’s two-run triple put USM up 6-3.
Hunter Slater lined a RBI-single before Bowen sent his eighth home run of the season over the wall in left field. Wallner followed with his 12th home run of the season, a shot just inside the right-field line.
USM added an unearned run in the eighth inning to wrap up the scoring.
Peyton Wigginton (4-3) took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.
The Golden Eagles pounded out 15 hits, including three each by Bowen (home run, triple, single) and Wallner (home run, two singles). Bowen drove in four runs and scored twice, while Wallner scored two runs and drove in a pair.
Guidry tripled and singled, scored twice and drove in two runs, while Slater and Erick Hoard each had a pair of singles.
The Blue Raiders finished with eight hits, with J.T. Mabry, Brett Stratinsky and Blake Benefield picking up hits apiece. Benfield drove in pair of runs with a run-scoring single in the first and a solo home run in the third.
The teams will wrap up the conference series at 1 p.m. Sunday.