HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ A University of Southern Mississippi bullpen that had been so good for the majority of the 2019 baseball season was … well … not so good Friday night.
Three Golden Eagle relievers allowed nine hits and six runs over the final three innings as Florida Atlantic University rallied for an 8-5 Conference USA baseball victory at Pete Taylor Park.
The Owls (31-14, 16-6 C-USA) broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth inning with a run-scoring single by catcher Pedro Pages and then pushed three more runs across in the ninth to pull within a game of the C-USA leading Golden Eagles (31-14, 17-5).
USM, which saw a nine-game winning streak snapped, scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Bryant Bowen’s third hit of the game and twice brought the potential, game-tying run to the plate.
But Matt Wallner struck out and pinch-hitter Erick Hoard flew out to center field to end the game.
Gabe Montenegro tied a career-best effort with four hits and four runs scored. Bowen had three hits and drove in three runs for the Golden Eagles.
Matt Guidry, who reached base three times on a single, walk and hit by pitch, extended his reached-base-safely streak to 39 games.
The bottom four of USM’s batting order combined to go 1-for-15 Friday.
USM reliever Hunter Stanley (4-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits in two innings.
FAU reliever Vince Coletti (4-2) picked up the victory, allowing two runs on four hits over 2 1/3 innings.
Zach Schneider allowed Bowen’s single before recording the final two outs for his league-leading 11th save.
The second game between the teams is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, weather permitting.