April 22, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Isaac Rodriguez singled through the left side to score Ashley Graeter with the winning run in the eighth as Southern Miss defeated Memphis 2-1 here Sunday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field to sweep the three-game series.
The Golden Eagles (23-16 overall, 7-5 C-USA) swept their first Conference USA series since taking all three games from UAB on May 6-8, 2011.
Mason Robbins, in his first collegiate pitching start, limited Memphis to a run on five hits and three walks with two strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Robbins then turned the game over to Cameron Giannini and Bradley Roney who limited the Tigers to just one hit and two walks with three strikeouts the rest of the way.
Southern Miss scored solo runs in the seventh and eighth to get the job done in a series that saw just a total of eight runs tallied from both teams.
In the seventh, Dillon Day, who tallied a pair of hits, led of the frame with a single. After stealing second, he was sacrificed to third on a bunt by Joe Martin. Kameron Brunty then hit a sacrifice fly to left to plate Day to tie the score.
Graeter, who finished the game with three of the Eagles'10 hits, walked to start the eighth.
The Tigers then went to their pen and their third pitcher in Jonathan Van Eaton. With Rodriguez showing bunt, Van Eaton threw over to first to keep the runner close. Unfortunately for the visitors, no one was covering the bag and the ball went down into the Memphis bullpen and Graeter ended up at third. The Tigers were using their bunt formation which left an opening at first that allowed the ball to get away.
Rodriguez then laced a 2-2 pitch between the shortstop and third baseman to put the home team ahead for good.
The Tigers (17-23, 6-9) got to Robbins with a two-out double in the second by Tucker Tubbs. After an infield single, Ethan Gross knocked in the Tigers' lone run with a single to left.
The Tigers also threatened in the sixth but Giannini got a strikeout to end the frame. Giannini posted the victory to improve to 2-2 on the campaign.
Roney then came in to start the ninth. After a single and a walk, Memphis used a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. The freshman righthander then got Gross to hit into a fielder's choice and pinch runner Zach Willis was thrown out at the plate. Roney then fanned pinch hitter Carter White to end the game and get his seventh save.
The Golden Eagles return to action Tuesday when they travel to Pearl, Miss., for a 6:30 p.m., contest against Mississippi State at Trustmark Park. The meeting is the only one between the two schools this season.
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