April 25, 2008
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Southern Miss scored double digit runs for the fourth consecutive game in a 12-9 victory over No. 28 Houston in the opening game of the Conference USA series.
"This was a good Friday night win for us, to beat one of the best starting pitchers in this conference after being down 3-0 makes this one of our biggest wins of the season," head coach Corky Palmer said. "(Starting pitcher Josh) Billeaud threw very well tonight and we were able to hit a few home runs to help him out."
For the first time this season Southern Miss (29-13, 7-6 CUSA) belted four home runs in a game. Keith Winstead and Kyle Maxie both had solo home runs, Bo Davis had a two run shot and Chris Matesich hit his first career grand slam.
Matesich also had a double to go along with his grand slam, collecting five RBI and a run scored in the game. The five RBI is also a career high for the senior infielder.
Houston (26-15, 8-5 CUSA) starting pitcher Wes Musick entered tonight's game leading C-USA and seventh in the NCAA with his seven wins. The Golden Eagles fell behind 3-0 early before scoring their 12 runs in the middle three frames, six off of the Houston ace Musick.
Eight different players had hits in the ten hit affair tonight for Southern Miss and eight different players also scored at least one run in the contest.
Starting pitcher Josh Billeaud (3-3) had one of his better outings of the season, working 6.1 innings allowing only five hits and five runs, two of which scored after he left the game. At one point he retired 11 consecutive Cougar hitters from the third through seventh innings.
Houston struck for an early 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Josh Stewart drew a walk to start the rally and Bryan Pounds followed with a single on a pop up just over the infield. Billeaud issued a walk to Jimmy Cesario to load the bases with only one out in the inning. Second baseman Ryan Lombard cleared the bases with a double down the left field line for three RBI.
Southern Miss took control of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning as Keith Winstead led off with a solo home run to right-center field. Michael Ewing drew a walk and Kyle Maxie followed with a single through the hole on the right side. Maxie broke for second on a ball in the dirt and Houston catcher Austin Goolsby's throw was kicked into left field by Maxie to allow Ewing to scamper home.
Bo Davis cleared the bases with his third home run of the season, a deep blast to right-center field to put Southern Miss on top 4-3.
The Golden Eagles added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth as Trey Cueves led off with a double down the left field line and Keith Winstead was hit by a pitch. Michael Ewing laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance both runner and Chris Matesich followed with sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Cuevas. Josh Fields singled up the middle to pick up an RBI as Winstead scored for a 6-3 Southern Miss advantage.
The scoring continued in the bottom of the sixth with the biggest single inning on the season for Southern Miss, plating six runs in the frame. Dozier and Carson were both hit by pitches and Trey Cuevas drew a walk to load the bases with out any outs in the inning. Michael Ewing drew a bases loaded walk to force home Dozier and end the day for Musick on the mound.
Reliever Taylor Hammock entered the game for the Cougars and Chris Matasich drilled his first pitch over the wall down the left field line for a grand slam and a 11-3 Southern Miss advantage.
Houston added two runs in the top of the seventh as Ryan Lormand hit his second based loaded double of the game, this time picking up two RBI making the score 12-5.
The Cougars continued to threaten in the eighth inning as they loaded the bases with no one out off reliever Wade Weathers. Houston plated the first run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Jake Stewart and added another run on an RBI single by Jimmy Cesario. Ryan Lomand picked up two more RBI on a single up the middle giving his seven total for the game and making the score 12-9. Tyler Conn ended the threat in the eighth inning recording the final two outs with two runners on base.
Conn finished the game in the ninth to seal the victory for the Golden Eagles though it was not a save situation.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow for game two of the series with first pitch set for 4:00 p.m.