After a stellar performance, Powers earns a no decisionBy CAMAL PETRO,
HATTIESBURG – Southern Miss starting pitcher Stevie Powers hurled a gem Saturday in Game 2 of the series against Georgia Southern. He didn’t earn the win after throwing 6.1 innings of six-hit ball, but the Golden Eagles did, and that’s all the matters to him.
The Savannah, Ga. native was excited to get the win over his quasi-hometown team. After all, there was a brief moment he thought he was going to attend his mother’s alma mater.
“Being from Savannah and playing Georgia Southern, that’s a pretty close opponent for me,” Powers said. “My mom went to school there and it was kind of place I thought I’d end up at after my high school career, but obviously the best decision of my life was to come out here.
“To finally get a chance to play against them, it’s a dream come true.”
Powers struck out 10 Georgia Southern batters and walked only one during his outing. While putting up zeros on the board, Southern Miss could only scratch across one run in the third inning. Powers held GSU down, though, giving Southern Miss a chance to blow the game open.
The offense, however, didn’t do help Powers out too much. The Golden Eagles only had four hits and the one run during Powers’ time on the mound. Powers doesn’t spend too much time worrying about run support, though.
“Not at all,” he said. “As a pitcher, my mentality is go out there and attack like it’s 0-0. It doesn’t matter if we’re up by 10 or down by 10 or if the game is 1-0 like it was today. You don’t want to change your approach at any point in the game like that. Just go in there and get out after out after out, and I think that’s what we did today as a staff.”
Powers was pulled in the sixth inning after allowing a leadoff walk and a double to left field to put two on with one out. Senior Keller Bradford inherited Powers’ baserunners, and Powers had a few animated words for Bradford before walking to the dugout while receiving a loud applause from the 3,431 fans in attendance.
“I just told him to do his job,” Powers said. “I think sometimes getting into that bullpen a little bit, you kind of have to get those guys going because that’s a tough situation. Being in that role the past two years, and knowing that feeling, I knew it was always nice getting the ball from the starter and that guy kind of jumping me a little bit.”
It worked, too. Bradford got a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat and keep the 1-0 Southern Miss lead. Powers was first out of the dugout to show his support for Bradford.
“Yeah, I was first out there to meet him, and I think you learn so much from guys like that,” Powers said. “I’ve seen people do it in the past, and just to be the first one out there, because those weren’t just the game-winning runs out there. Those were my runs. For him to come in there with inherited runners like that with one out, what a heck of a job. I was so proud of him.”
Georgia Southern was able to scratch across two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 2-1 lead on the home team, and it gave Powers a no decision for the game. Sophomore Matt Wallner picked a good time to hit his first home run of the season, sending the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the ninth over the left field fence to give Southern Miss a 3-2 win. Luke Reynolds walked during the previous at-bat.
It was the second walk-off win in as many days over Georgia Southern, and it clinched the series for the Golden Eagles. Game 3 is set for 6 p.m. Saturday.
“We wanted to get the win for Stevie,” Wallner said. “I hate we couldn’t give him the win, but we got the win. He deserved that win. We need to support our pitchers, and we will. Hopefully, that will get us going.”