Southern Miss Clinches 6th C-USA Regular Season Title

Scott Berry, Southern Miss
Scott Berry, Southern Miss
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 11:48 PM CDT
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Southern Miss Sports Information

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WDAM) - Slade Wilks had three hits and drove in three runs and Gabe Montenegro added two singles and two RBI to lead No. 17 Southern Miss to a 9-4 victory over Middle Tennessee Thursday night at Reese Smith Jr. Field to clinch the 2022 Conference USA regular season title.

The Golden Eagles (39-14 overall, 21-7 C-USA) clinched the crown on the strength of its victory, coupled with an 11-3 loss for Louisiana Tech at Charlotte. Southern Miss clinched its sixth league regular-season title – fifth under Scott Berry – with the previous championships coming in 2003, 2011 (shared), 2013 (shared), 2017 and 2018.

Down 4-3 to start the sixth, the Golden Eagles put the game away with four runs in the frame.

Wilks tied the score right away as he opened the inning with an opposite field home run to left field for his ninth of the campaign. Gabe Montenegro then added a two-run single later before the visitors scored their final run in the frame on a passed ball.

Southern Miss added solo runs in the seventh and eighth innings on a sacrifice fly by Blake Johnson and a score on a double steal that was thrown away at the plate for a scoring tally, respectively, to complete the Golden Eagles’ scoring.

After Matt Adams threw a solid 1 2/3 innings of relief in which he allowed one hit and fanned one to get a win and improve to 2-1 on the year, Garrett Ramsey gave up only a ninth-inning walk as he posted a three-inning save to garner his fourth of the year. The duo came in relief of starter Tanner Hall who gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits and three strikeouts for a no decision.

The Golden Eagles took the early advantage with a couple of runs in the opening frame.

After Montenegro led off the game with an infield single in which he ended up at second after a throwing error by the Blue Raider shortstop, Dustin Dickerson – who also had two hits – used a sacrifice bunt to move the runner up to third. Wilks then drove in his first two runs with a single to center.

An RBI single by Blue Raider Wyatt Morgan cut the deficit to 2-1 after one frame.

Southern Miss added another run in the fourth on a Will McGillis double, but Middle Tennessee tied the game on a McGillis error with the bases loaded that allowed two runs to score to the score at 3-3.

The Blue Raiders then took its only lead one inning later on an Eston Snider sacrifice fly.

MT reliever Trent Seibert gave up four runs (three runs) over an inning of work on three hits and two walks with a strikeout to suffer the loss and fall to 4-4.

Game two of the series will take place Friday at 6 p.m.

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