April 19, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Matt Durst delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth giving Southern Miss the only run they needed while Christian Talley and Ryan Milton combined to shutout Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech for the second-straight day in a 1-0 decision here Saturday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles (23-17 overall, 11-5 C-USA) won its sixth consecutive series to start league play, marking the first time that has happened since the 2003 club won seven consecutive sets to open C-USA action. The Golden Eagles remain in second place in the league standings, trailing Rice by 1 ½ games.
The game turned out to be a pitchers' duel between LA Tech starter Richie Navari and the Golden Eagles' Talley as the two pitchers kept the game scoreless through the first six innings.
Southern Miss threatened in the first with consecutive singles by Breck Kline and Michael Sterling, both of whom ended the day with two singles apiece. Tim Lynch then popped up a bunt and Durst hit into a double play to end the threat.
Navari allowed just one more hit until the sixth when Sterling singled to leftfield with one out. Lynch then followed with a hit-and-run single moving Sterling to third. Durst followed with a long fly ball out to center deep enough to score Sterling.
As for Talley, the junior right-hander went eight strong innings for the Golden Eagles, scattering six hits and not allowing a walk while striking out 10 in the contest. It was his second double-digit strikeout tally of the season.
The Bulldogs (10-26, 4-16) tried to rally in the eighth with a one-out single by Taylor Love, but he was gunned down by Austin Roussel later in the frame on a steal attempt.
Talley got the victory and improved to 3-2 on the season.
Ryan Milton came on in the ninth and surrendered a leadoff single to Colby Johnson, but then got Tyler Ervine to hit in a double play before getting Tyler Qualls to hit a comebacker for the final out and register his second save of the year.
It was the first time since Southern Miss beat Ole Miss (10-0 on 3/20/12 in Oxford) and Houston (8-0 on 3/23/12 in Hattiesburg) that they recorded back-to-back shutouts.
Navari finished the game as the losing pitcher falling to 4-4 on the year, going eight innings and allowing a run on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
The two teams will conclude the series with a 1 p.m., contest Sunday.
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