USM walks off GSU in Game 1By FROM SOUTHERN MISS,
HATTIESBURG – For a second consecutive game, Southern Miss may not have managed many base hits, but the few the Golden Eagles did made all the differenceFriday night.
First baseman Hunter Slater’s opposite-field single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning allowed No. 15 USM to take a 4-3 victory over Georgia Southern at Pete Taylor Park.
Southern Miss (9-4), which hit just two singles Wednesday in a 3-0 loss at the University of Alabama, had just five more Friday.
But the Golden Eagles clumped two hits in each of the two innings where Southern Miss pushed across runs, including the decisive final rally.
The Golden Eagles erased a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning, sandwiching three walks between a pair of singles off GSU starter Brian Eichhorn.
Second baseman Matthew Guidry singled with one out and consecutive walks to outfielder Mason Irby and third baseman Luke Reynolds loaded the bases.
Outfielder Matt Wallner forced in an run with another walk before designated hitter Daniel Keating grounded an 0-2 pitch through the hole and into left field for a two-run single and 3-2 USM lead.
Eichhorn allowed three runs on three hits. He struck out five and walked three.
Southern Miss starting pitcher Nick Sandlin protected the lead until being lifted after allowing a first-pitch, leadoff single to GSU third baseman Chandler Corley.
Reliever Adam Jackson got a strikeout but then was tagged for a run-scoring double to the wall in right-field wall by first baseman Mason McWhorter to tie the game.
Jackson was lifted in favor of Wallner, who came to the mound from center field and got out of the inning on two ground balls that stranded McWhorter at third.
Sandlin allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits. He walked one and struck out 12 in his seven-plus innings.
Wallner (1-0) got his first victory of the season, allowing two hits in 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He logged his only strikeout to end the top of the ninth and got a double-play grounder to end the top of the 10th.
Irby walked for the second time in the game to lead off the bottom of the 10th off GSU reliever Chase Cohen (1-2). Reynolds followed with a single to right field, sending Irby to third.
GSU (7-7) intentionally walked Wallner to load the bases, and on a 2-0 count, Slater drove the game-winner deep into left.
Reynolds had two of Southern Miss’ five hits and walked twice. Georgia Southern outhit the Golden Eagles 8-5, with McWhorter collecting a double and single and Corley hitting two singles.
First pitch for Saturday’s second game of the three-game weekend series between the teams was moved to noon from 2 p.m. because of inclement weather expected later in the afternoon in the Pine Belt.