CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Southern Miss hit three home runs in the first game, but did not take advantage of an early lead in the nightcap to split a baseball doubleheader with Marshall here Saturday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park.
The Golden Eagles won the opener 9-5 to capture its opening series of 2014, before dropping the nightcap, 5-3. The two teams decided to play the doubleheader following Friday's contest, as bad weather was expected to be in the area for Sunday.
In the opening contest, Southern Miss exploded for five first-inning runs to take control of the game early.
After a pair of strikeouts to start the contest, Tim Lynch belted his first career home run over the rightfield wall. Matt Durst, who finished the doubleheader 4-for-8, then doubled before Bradley Roney was hit by a pitch. Mason Robbins added a walk to load the bases, before Austin Roussel drove in the second run with a walk of his own. Andrew Furr finished the inning's scoring with a double down the rightfield line which cleared the bases.
Up five runs, Southern Miss starter Cameron Giannini cruised through the first seven innings, giving up just one run on a T.J. Diffenderfer RBI single. Diffenderfer ended the game with two hits and three RBI for the home squad.
The Golden Eagles added solo homers from Durst, his second of the year, in the fifth and from Connor Barron in the eighth, who hit his second of the season as well, to take a 7-1 advantage.
The Herd (6-12 overall, 3-3 C-USA) then rallied with four runs off of Giannini on four hits in the frame, before Ryan Milton came on to get a sacrifice fly and a strikeout to end the inning.
Southern Miss added two insurance runs in the ninth on a pinch-hit, run-scoring single from Breck Kline and the other on an errorto complete the scoring.
Giannini, who finished by allowing five runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts, garnered the victory and improve to 2-1 on the year. Milton retired all five batters he faced with a strikeout to earn his first save of the year.
In the nightcap, the Golden Eagles (9-11, 2-1) scored solo runs in the first and second innings to take the early 2-0 lead. Barron led of the second game with a double down the rightfield line on the game's first pitch and then scored two batters later, when Lynch doubled to right-center.
Austin Roussel added a solo home run to right, his first homer since March 15, 2013, in the second.
The Herd, though, took the lead for good on a two-run double from Andrew Dundon in the third before adding a third tally in the frame on a fielding error by Bradley Roney.
Matt Reed added a RBI single for the Herd in the fifth and Marshall scored its final run in the eighth on a balk called on USM reliever Sean Buchholz.
Before the Golden Eagles gave up the fifth run in the eighth, the squad cut the gap to 4-3 in the seventh on a RBI single from Roney.
Southern Miss starter A.J. Glasshof (1-2) suffered the loss as he allowed three runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout, while Matt Margaritonda (2-2) gave up three runs on four hits with five walks and six strikeouts to get the victory. Ryan Hopkins limited Southern Miss to one hit and tallied three strikeouts over the final 2 2/3 innings to get his first save of the campaign.
The Golden Eagles return home Tuesday for the first of a four-game homestand when they entertain ULM, Tuesday, March 18, with a 6 p.m., contest at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson.
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