Feb. 15, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Two Golden Eagle baseball players had successful debuts today, one by senior pitcher Cliff Russum as he was back on the mound for the first time since 2004, and the other by freshman Luke Adkins, batting 3-for-3, including a double and his first home run, highlight Southern Miss' 5-2 victory over Nicholls State at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
"I still say that the verdict is out on this team; it's just one game," Head Coach Corky Palmer said. "But this program is so solid that on any given day anyone can step up, and today it was Luke (Adkins)."
Russum (1-0) pitched seven strong innings, collecting seven strikeouts, while walking two and giving up two runs. Matt Caire made a brief appearance in the eight inning, giving up two hits in 0.2 innings, before giving way to closer Daniel Best, who earned his first save of the season in 1.1 innings pitched with one strikeout.
For Nicholls State, Justin Breaux (0-1) dropped his first decision of the season after pitching three innings, giving up three runs, two from wild pitches, two hits and walked four.
"Cliff really got rolling throughout the game," Palmer said. "I thought I would have had to go to (Matt) Caire in the fifth inning, but he kept doing well, and had some quick innings. I was proud of him after coming back from surgery to lead this team to the win today. The players and everybody on the team love him, and it couldn't happen to a better kid."
Adkins was perfect at the plate for the Golden Eagles, going 3-3 with a single, double, home run and an RBI, while walking once.
Michael Bartek and Patrick Harris each had two hits for the visiting Colonels, while Thomas Bourne and Michael Roberts each recorded an RBI.
The Golden Eagles scored two runs on two wild pitches to take the early 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead off of a wild pitch by Breaux, scoring Kevin Coker. Two batters later, he threw another wild pitch that scored Jody Blount.
Nicholls State scored two runs in the top of the third inning when Ted Wilke scored from second base off a Thomas Bourne single to right field followed by an RBI sacrifice by Michael Roberts that scored Michael Bartek, tying the game, 2-2.
A double to center field by Trey Cuevas scored Marc Maddox in the bottom of the third inning, giving Southern Miss a 3-2 edge.
Southern Miss tacked on two runs in the sixth inning. Luke Adkins hit his first career home run, a solo shot off of Jason Sullivan over left field wall. After loading the bases, Sullivan threw a wild pitch that scored Brian Dozier, building the Golden Eagle lead to 5-2.
Southern Miss next travels to Mobile, Ala., to participate in the Coca-Cola Classic hosted by South Alabama, playing Wichita State on Fri., Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m., Stetson on Sat., Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m. and host South Alabama on Sun. Feb. 19 at 2:30 p.m.