USM skipper Scott Berry grabs career win No. 500

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 11:35 PM CDT
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From the University of Southern Mississippi Sports Information Department

NORFOLK, Va. (WDAM) - Tanner Hall pitched 7 2/3 innings while Slade Wilks and Danny Lynch each drove in a pair of runs to lead the University of Southern Mississippi to a 4-2 series-opening victory over Old Dominion University Thursday afternoon.

In the process, USM coach Scott Berry picked up his 500th victory at the school.

The Golden Eagles (18-10 overall, 6-4 Sun Belt Conference) won their third consecutive game as they have opened all four conference series with a victory.

Hall (6-2) limited one of the league’s top-hitting teams to just a run on four hits with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts to earn the win. After giving up two singles and a hit by pitch in the first inning, he left the bases loaded with a flyout to left.

Hall gave up a leadoff single to start the second inning, then did not allow another hit until the eighth inning. He only allowed one runner after that second-inning single before giving up a one-out, home run to pinch hitter Logan Duffy in the eighth inning. It was his first of the season.

At one point, Hall retired 11 batters in a row.

The Golden Eagles jumped on ODU sophomore left-hander Blake Morgan with three runs in the fourth. Wilks led off the fourth with a home run to right-center, his team-leading 11th of the year and seventh in the last 10 games.

Christopher Sargent then followed with a single. After being erased on a fielder’s choice followed by a strikeout, Blake Johnson singled before Lynch drove both runners with a line-shot double down the first-base line.

Wilks completed the Golden Eagles’ scoring one inning later as he drove in Matthew Etzel with a scorching liner up the middle on a drawn-in infield. Etzel opened the frame with a double and went to third on a Dustin Dickerson groundout before scoring.

ODU (22-7, 6-3) scratched another run off USM reliever Kros Sivley in the ninth inning.

After allowing a lead-off single to open the ninth, Sivley got a flyout and fanned a batter, before Thomas Wheeler whistled a ball down the right-field line for a triple to cut the deficit.

Sivley, though, got another strikeout to end the game and earn his team-high fourth save of the year.

Morgan (3-3) suffered the loss for the Monarchs, giving up four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.

Berry, who is in his 14th year as USM head coach, has registered winning seasons in every season he’s been at the helm. USM has won 40 or more games in each of the last six seasons – not counting the COVID year in 2020 – which is the longest string of any Division I program.

The ODU series is set to continue with a 5 p.m. contest Friday at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex.

The game can be seen on ESPN+ and heard on an affiliate of the Southern Miss Sports Network.

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