HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ University of Southern Mississippi right-hander Gabe Shepard gave up four runs in the first inning Tuesday night and for a third, consecutive meeting, the Golden Eagles’ bats fell fallow against the University of South Alabama, as the visiting Jaguars swept the season series with a 4-0 victory at Pete Taylor Park.
The loss snapped USM’s seven game winning streak as the Golden Eagles (21-10) fell to 1-4 in midweek games.
Three of the midweek losses came against USA (17-13), which knocked off USM twice in earlier meetings in Mobile, Ala. In those three losses, the Golden Eagles managed just five runs against Jaguars’ pitching.
Tuesday night, USM was shut out for the third time this season as USA starter Tyler Lehrmann (2-2) and Miles Smith combined on a six-hitter.
Lehrmann went seven innings, allowing five hits, while walking two and striking out five. Smith covered the final two innings, allowing a hit and walking one while striking out two.
USA got all the runs it would need in the first inning off Shepard (0-1), who because of injury was making just his third appearance of the season and his first start.
Shepard opened the game with a strikeout, then failed to get another out.
Michael Sandle walked on four consecutive pitches, stole second and scored on a run-scoring single to right field by Ethan Wilson.
Wilson promptly stole second base, Reid Powers walked and Kaleb De La Rosa smacked a three-run homer to left-center to put the Jaguars up 4-0.
Chandler Best got two fly balls to get out of the first inning, and eight more USM pitchers would follow him to the mound, checking USA on just three hits over the final eight innings.
But the damage had been done.
USM threatened only once, loading the bases on a pair of infield singles sandwiched around a single up the middle in the third inning.
But Lehrmann got a strikeout, a foul out to shortstop and a weak fly ball caught by the third baseman to escape unscathed.
The Golden Eagles would put only two more runners in scoring position over the final six innings.
USM outfielder Gabe Montenegro extended his hitting streak to 15 games by producing two of the Goldnn Eagles’ six hits, a double and single.
De La Rosa and Wilson each had two hits, combining for four of the Jaguars’ five hits.
USM will visit Ruston, La., this weekend to take on Louisiana Tech University in a four-game Conference USA series. The Bulldogs took three of four games from USM in Hattiesburg on the last weekend in March.