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Eagles Rally to Take C-USA Opener at Memphis

Chase Fowler

April 19, 2013

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Chase Fowler drove in the go-ahead run with a single in a four-run eighth to lift Southern Miss to a 5-3 Conference USA victory over Memphis here Friday night at FedExPark.

The Golden Eagles (20-17, 9-4) won their ninth-straight contest - the longest streak since the 2010 season - as three Golden Eagle pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts.

Southern Miss got two hits each from Isaac Rodriguez and Jared Bales in the nine-hit Golden Eagle attack.

Down 3-1 heading into the eighth, Travis Creel and Mason Robbins each singled to lead off the frame for Southern Miss. Creel then scored on a Blake Brown flyball to leftfield that was dropped by Colton Simbeck to cut the deficit to one run.

Rodriguez then reached base when his bunt was thrown badly to third by UofM starter Sam Moll, the second error of the inning, to load the bases with no outs.

After a strikeout, pinch hitter Austin Roussel hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score, before Fowler drove in what proved to be the game-winner with a single. Pinch hitter Andrew Furr then added a RBI single for an added insurance run. It was the second-straight game Furr had collected an RBI pinch-hit single.

The game had remained scoreless through the first six innings in a pitcher's duel between USM's Jake Drehoff and UofM's Moll, before the Golden Eagles finally took a 1-0 lead on an RBI by Bales in the seventh.

Both teams loaded the bases once early in the contest, the Golden Eagles in the second and the Tigers in the fourth, but neither team could score on each of their opportunities.

Memphis rallied forall three runs of their runs in the bottom of the seventh on a solo homer by Simbeck, his fifth, along with an RBI single from Ethan Gross and a bases-loaded hit by pitch by Drew Griffin.

USM reliever Nick Johnson (2-0) threw 1 2/3 innings behind Drehoff, allowing a hit and a walk with a strikeout to get the win, while Bradley Roney threw a scoreless ninth to get his sixth save of the year, which includes the last three games for Southern Miss.

Moll (6-3) gave up five runs, only one earned, on seven hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts to suffer the loss for the Tigers (24-15, 7-6).

The second game of the series is set to take place at 2 p.m., Saturday.

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