USM clinches 4th consecutive C-USA series

Southern Miss pitcher Hunter Riggins.
Southern Miss pitcher Hunter Riggins.(WDAM)
Published: Apr. 9, 2022 at 7:58 PM CDT
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Southern Miss Sports Information

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi right-hander Hunter Riggins had a no-hitter on his hands through five innings as 18th-ranked University of Southern Mississippi eventually took down the University of North Carolina-Charlotte 8-2 Saturday.

Christopher Sargent homered, Blake Johnson drove in two runs with a double and single and the Golden Eagles took advantage of three, bases-loaded walks in the sixth inning to clinch the three-game series with the 49ers at Hayes Stadium.

USM (22-8, 9-2 Conference USA) won for the 12th time in 14 games, clinching the series with Charlotte (17-13, 4-7), which dropped its sixth consecutive game.

The Golden Eagles will go for the series seep at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Riggins (4-2) was in command for the better part of his outing. Through five innings, he had walked one and hit a batter.

In the sixth inning he allowed a leadoff single, then a two-out double, but slipped three strikeouts into the inning to avoid any damage on the scoreboard.

Riggins started the seventh with a pop-up back to himself before a runner reached on a throwing error.

After a single and a strikeout, the 49ers got back-to-back RBI singles from Kaden Hopson and Drew Tyndall, ending Riggins’ day.

USM reliever Ben Ethridge then came in and got a strikeout to end the inning.

Riggins (4-2) allowed two unearned runs on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

Ethridge threw the final 2 1/3 innings, striking out three. He gave up a single, but immediately retired the runner on the Golden Eagles’ second double play of the game to end the eighth. Ethridge retired the 49ers in order in the ninth inning.

The Golden Eagles went up 1-0 in the fourth inning on Sargent’s a solo home run to left field, his ninth of the year.

USM then added three runs in each of the next two innings.

In the fifth inning, the Golden Eagles bunched together four doubles from Lynch, Gabe Montenegro, Blake Johnson and Carson Paetow with the latter three each driving in a run.

Charlotte then walked in three runs in the sixth, giving Johnson, Paetow and Dickerson base-loaded walks, as the 49ers gave up one hit, three walks and hit two batters in the frame.

USM then added an insurance run in the ninth inning on a Slade Wilks’ RBI-single.

Of the 10 Golden Eagle hits, six went for extra bases, including five doubles and a home run.

Charlotte left-hander Will Lancaster (3-1) gave up four runs over 4 2/3 innings on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks.

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