USM knocks out Florida State 7-4
Golden Eagles advance to face Ole Miss Sunday night in Oxford Regional
OXFORD, Miss. (WDAM) - Ryan Och primarily has been a reliever since he arrived at the University of Southern Mississippi.
But over the past few weeks of postseason play, Och has given Golden Eagles’ coaches plenty to consider his pitching profile during the offseason.
For a second consecutive weekend, Och extended his stay on the mound while retaining command of his pitches and control of the game.
Och threw a career-best 4 2/3 scoreless innings Sunday afternoon, allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out a career-high 11 in a game that held USM’s season in the balance.
It was during his stint on the bump that the second-seeded Golden Eagles (39-20) were able to chip away at a three-run deficit, scoring the final six runs of the game to eliminate third seed Florida State University from the Oxford Regional with a 7-4 victory.
The game marked the 52nd meeting between the former Metro Conference foes, and USM able to avenge a 5-2 loss in the opening round to the Seminoles (31-24) by beating FSU on the diamond for the first time in more than two decades.
USM’s last win over the Seminoles came by a 3-1 count at the 1991 Metro Conference Baseball Tournament in Salem, Va.
FSU grabbed a 1-0 lead on a single by Robby Martin off USM starter Drew Boyd in the first inning.
USM tied the score in the second when Reed Trimble beat the relay throw on a potential, inning-ending double play that allowed Will McGillis to score from third base.
The Seminoles went back ahead immediately. Logan Lacey hit his second home run against USM in the regional and 10th of the season to give FSU a 2-1 with one out in the third inning.
FSU tracked on two more runs as Robby Marton drove on his second run of the game with a single and Davis Hare followed two batters later with another run-scoring single.
Enter Och (8-0), who got the final out of the inning, and then stifled the Seminoles into the eighth inning.
Catcher Blake Johnson’s second homer of the year in the fifth inning got USM to within 4-3 and Will McGillis’ solo shot tied the game in the seventh inning.
McGillis’ homer also ended FSU starter Connor Grady’s day. Grady went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out six.
USM scored twice in the eighth inning off reliever Hunter Perdue (1-3) to take the lead.
Reece Ewing, who had one hit in first 11 at-bats in the regional, knocked in the go-ahead run by grounding a single into right field. USM added another run in the eighth on a FSU error.
The Golden Eagles tacked on the final run on a Christopher Sargent single.
Perdue took the pitching loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits in 2/3 innings. He struck out one, walked one.
USM’s Hurston Waldrep, who relieved Och in the eighth inning, got the final five outs of the game to pick up his third save of the season.
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