Eight-run first inning propels Southern Miss to 14-7 series-opening win
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Matt Wallner tied Southern Miss' freshman home record with his 13th of the season, and Dylan Burdeaux and Hunter Slater also homered as the 25th-ranked Golden Eagles downed Middle Tennessee State 14-7 Friday night.
Wallner and Burdeaux each homered in an eight-run first inning, and Slater added a solo shot in the fifth inning as the Golden Eagles pounded out 18 hits, including nine for extra bases.
Southern Miss (32-12, 14-5 Conference USA) snapped a two-game losing streak in conference play and improved to 9-1 in C-USA road games.
Burdeaux, who scored four runs and drove in three, and Slater each had three hits, while Taylor Braley and Wallner also drove in three runs each.
Wallner smacked a three-run shot in the first inning, tying Darren Welch's freshman home run record, while Burdeaux hit a two-run home run in the Golden Eagles' big, opening inning.
Matt Guidry and LeeMarcus Boyd each drove in runs with doubles, while Braley added a sacrifice fly to take an 8-0 lead off MTSU starter A.J. Spencer (2-2).
But the Blue Raiders (20-22, 7-12) scored three times in the first inning off Kirk McCarty with two outs, and then added three more runs in the second inning with two outs off reliever Colt Smith (3-0) to cut the lead to 8-6.
McCarty lasted only an inning, allowing three runs on five hits.
But Smith bowed up over the next 5 2/3 innings, holding MTSU scoreless, while the Golden Eagles padded their lead.
Burdeaux had a run-scoring double and Slater and Braley each had run-scoring singles in a three-run third inning to put Southern Miss up 11-6, and Slater pushed the lead to 12-6 with his home run.
The Golden Eagles added two runs in the seventh inning on Mason Irby's second double of the game and Braley's second sacrifice fly.
The Blue Raiders added a run in the bottom of the ninth before Trent Driver finished out the game.
Slater drove in two runs and scored three times, while Irby scored twice. Boyd, Guidry and Jake Viaene had two hits each.
The teams will play the second game of the three-game set at 4 p.m. Saturday.