LAKE CHARLES, La. - Southern Miss scored a pair of runs in the first inning, but could not hold off a late Missouri rally as the Tigers scored in three-straight frames late to beat the Golden Eagles 4-2 in both team's season opener here Saturday afternoon at Cowboy Diamond.
As part of the Lake Area Classic, the Golden Eagles will play again later Saturday night at 7, when they take on Chicago State. The game can be heard on the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network.
The loss for Southern Miss ruined a solid starting effort from senior Cameron Giannini (Danville, Va.), who allowed just one run on one hit over 5 2/3 with a career-high nine strikeouts and just two walks.
In his first career start for the Golden Eagles, Giannini retired 14 batters in a row at one point, including five consecutive strikeouts during the stretch, before allowing a single to start the sixth for his only hit given up in the contest.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to with a pair of runs in the first. Michael Sterling (Meridian, Miss.) led off the bottom of the first with a single. After stealing second, Sterling went to third on a groundout to the right side by Austin Roussel (Hester, La.). Mason Robbins (Leakesville, Miss.) then laced a single the hit off Mizzou shortstop Josh Lester to drive in the game's first run. Matt Durst (Whitehouse, Texas) then doubled one batter later off the leftfield wall to give the Eagles the early 2-0 advantage.
Southern Miss finished with four hits, but did not get one after the second inning and only saw two additional base runners past that second frame.
That enabled the Tigers to get back in the game.
Shane Segovia, who had a game-high two hits, got his team's first one with a single to start the sixth. After a strikeout and a walk, Giannini then collected his final strikeout before hitting a batter and leaving the contest with two outs in the sixth. Jay Myrick came in and gave up a wild pitch to allow Segovia to score and cut the margin to 2-1 before getting out of trouble.
The Tigers then took the lead for good in the seventh. A leadoff single by Kendall Keeton was followed by catcher's interference by Durst and Segovia then drove a double to the leftfield corner that scored the tying run. The throw from Roussel in the outfield skipped away from second base and that allowed the second runner to score giving Mizzou the lead for good.
Myrick (0-1) suffered the loss by allowing three runs (one earned) on three this with two walks and two strikeouts in the outing.
Zach Lavy knocked in the final run for the Tigers in the eighth on a fielder's choice.
Ryan Phillips, the third of five Mizzou pitchers, went two scoreless innings with two strikeouts to garner the victory.
*The Golden Eagles lost their first season opener since dropping a 5-4 decision to Nicholls State on Feb. 17, 2012
*It was the first road opener for the Golden Eagles since the 1997 campaign
*Southern Miss is now 39-28-1 in season openers
*Cameron Giannini had the first nine-strikeout game for Southern Miss since Andrew Pierce tallied 10 against Louisiana-Lafayette on March 8, 2013
*The previous career high for strikeouts for Giannini was seven against Missouri State on Feb. 23, 2013.
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