Strong Middle Innings Due in Golden Eagles in Baseball Season Opener
Feb. 17, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Nicholls State used both a strong starting pitching performance and good offensive middle innings to defeat Southern Miss 5-4 in front of 3,658 here Friday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Colonels, which snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Golden Eagles, overcame a 3-1 deficit by scoring in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings while Seth Webster held Southern Miss to four runs over 6 2/3 innings to get the victory.
"On offense, as a team, we just didn't make the adjustments we have to make off that starter to create some runs there in the middle innings," said third-year coach Scott Berry. "That was the whole key - the way they controlled the game in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings was just giving us nothing to go on. We didn't have any good at-bats in the middle innings of that game."
The visitors rallied from its deficit by tallying a solo run in the fourth on a bases loaded wild pitch, before taking the lead in the fifth with a pair of runs. After an out and a single, Blake Bergeron reached base on a catcher's interference by Chase Fowler and then the Colonels got RBI singles from both Beau Faulk and Michael LaGrange to put Nicholls State ahead for good.
Bergeron added one more run on a fielder's choice in the sixth to give the Colonels a 5-3 advantage.
After getting touched up for three runs and five hits over the first two frames, Webster limited the Golden Eagles to two hits and one run over the next 4 2/3 including retiring 12 of 13 batters at one point to get the victory. Hattiesburg native Jordan McCoy then retired the final seven Golden Eagles to get the save.
"I thought their pitcher (Webster) got better as he went into the game," said Berry. "He got stronger. We didn't help ourselves. We chased a lot of things out of the zone. Early on, we missed on a couple of opportunities to score runs and when it's all said and done, you can go back and figure out where one or two of those (should have been scored)."
After allowing a run-scoring double to NSU's Jeremy Hill in the opening frame, Southern Miss tied the game on a throwing error on a Dillon Day bunt that allowed Connor Barron to score after leading off with a double.
The Golden Eagles then took their lone lead with two more runs in the second as Travis Creel posted a sacrifice fly and Barron added an RBI single. Southern Miss also got a run-scoring double from Ashley Graeter in the sixth to cut into the final margin.
Chase Horn allowed four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 4 2/3 to suffer the loss. Cody Livingston then threw the final 4 1/3 and gave up one run on a hit with two walks and four strikeouts.
The loss was the first for Southern Miss on opening day since dropping a contest to McNeese State to start the 2003 campaign.
The two teams are slated to play at 2 p.m., Saturday, but expected rain in the Hattiesburg area could push the game into a Sunday doubleheader.