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USM snaps skid as Berry ascends to top of wins list

A five-run, seventh inning propelled the University of Southern Mississippi to a 9-6 victory at...
A five-run, seventh inning propelled the University of Southern Mississippi to a 9-6 victory at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Sunday at Young Memorial Field.(Gray Media)
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT
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From the University of Southern Mississippi Sports Information Department

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi used a five-run seventh inning to ride out a rough ninth inning and snap a two-game losing streak with a 9-6 win over the University of Alabama-Birmingham Sunday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.

The fourth-ranked Golden Eagles (34-10, 17-4 Conference USA) salvaged the final game of the three-game conference set. The Blazers (25-17, 10-11) had rallied for wins Friday and Saturday to hand USM its first weekend series loss of the season.

With the win, Scott Berry broke a tie with Hall of Fame coach Hill Denson for all-time victories with the Golden Eagles, logging the 469th win of his USM baseball career.

“It really means everything,” said Berry after the game on the school’s postgame radio show. “I have been a part of some special wins at this school and have been fortunate to be the head coach here in, I guess, my 13th year.

“I followed some really great people with Pete Taylor, Hill Denson and Corky Palmer. All of those guys laid the groundwork. Of all those wins, 469, the most important win, honestly, was the one (Sunday) and it wasn’t because of breaking a record, but it was because this team needed that win. We had to have that win and I couldn’t be any more proud of our guys to go out there and grind that thing out and feel the sense of urgency that we had to have that win.”

USM had to come-from-behind Sunday to get that win.

UAB led 1-0 on a two-out, run-scoring single by Caleb Floyd in the first inning.

But USM grabbed a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning and would not trail again.

Christopher Sargent’s 14th home run of the season tied the game, and after Rodrigo Montenegro walked, Danny Lynch swatted his fifth home run of the year to give the Golden Eagles a 3-1 lead.

Each team scored a run in the fifth inning. USM went up 4-1 on Dustin Dickerson’s single before a wild pitch allowed the Blazers to score in the bottom of the inning.

Floyd’s solo homer to lead off the sixth inning got the Blazers within 4-3, but USM batted around for five runs in the seventh inning.

Will McGillis smacked his 12th home run of season to lead off the inning and the Golden Eagles added four more runs on Blake Johnson’s double, Gabe Montenegro’s single, a bunt single that turned into a three-base play after a throwing error and a double by Carson Paetow.

USM had to withstand a three-run rally in the ninth inning in UAB’s last at bat. Braunshweig’s sacrifice fly scored the Blazers’ first run and a double by Sears got UAB within 9-5.

The Blazers’ final run came across on a USM error before Landon Harper got a groundout to end the game.

USM starter Hurtson Waldrep (4-1) allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings to pick up the victory. He walked two, struck out six.

Harper, who relieved Garrett Ramsey with one out in the ninth inning, allowed an unearned run on two hits over 2/3 of an inning to pick up his ninth save.

UAB starter Brooks Walton (5-2), the first of seven UAB pitchers, allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits over five innings. He walked two, struck out one.

USM will stay on the road, traveling to Mobile, Ala., o face the University of South Alabama at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eddie Stanky Field.

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