May 6, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Coming back from a 5-0 deficit and facing two outs and a 1-2 count in the seventh inning, Toddric Johnson delivered a single up the middle that allowed Chris Matesich to beat the throw to the plate for Southern Miss to break a 5-5 tie, giving the Golden Eagles their first lead of the game, en route to an 8-5 victory over East Carolina, tonight, at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field in front of 3,074 in attendance.
After an hour and 15 minute rain delay, East Carolina jumped out to a 5-1 lead by the bottom of the third inning, before Southern Miss scored seven runs in the fifth through eighth innings to complete its second straight comeback victory against the Pirates.
Southern Miss (33-16, 9-8 C-USA) scored eight runs on 11 hits, while East Carolina (28-19, 7-10 C-USA) scored five runs on 10 hits and committed one error.
Ryan Belanger (7-0) earned the win for the Golden Eagles, pitching 5.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits, striking out two and walking five. Kevin Rhodes (3-3) took the loss for the visiting Pirates, pitching one inning and walked one.
"The kids came back and played hard, and I'm very proud of them," Head Coach Corky Palmer said. "Ryan Belanger did a super job. There's no question; everyone's been pulling for him, and I've been trying to keep him in the pen, but that's over with - he'll start next weekend."
Adkins, Brian Dozier and Johnson each had two hits and two RBIs to lead the Golden Eagle offense, with Dozier adding a double and Adkins contributing a home run. Coker finished with one hit, a solo homer in the eighth inning.
The Pirates were led offensively by Adam Witter, who had three hits, one double, one home run and two RBIs.
East Carolina struck first in the game when Witter hit a two-run homer over the left center wall to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Jake Smith hit a two-run homer in the third inning, and a sacrifice fly RBI by Brandon Henderson, helped the Pirates' cause by increasing East Carolina's lead to 5-0 in the top of the third inning.
Southern Miss scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning on Dozier's RBI double that plated Bo Davis to trim the Pirate lead to 5-1.
An RBI single laced down the left field line by Dozier scored Adkins in the fifth inning for the Golden Eagles to cut the East Carolina lead to 5-2.
The Golden Eagles added three runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5-5. Johnson hit an RBI single that scored Trey Sutton, Adkins hit a sacrifice fly RBI that scored Johnson and Jody Blount hit an RBI single that scored Michael Ewing for the three runs of the inning.
Southern Miss took its first lead in the seventh inning, 6-5, on Johnson's RBI single up the middle that scored Chris Matesich.
Southern Miss added two more runs in the eighth inning to build its lead to 8-5 on back-to-back homers on first pitches by Kevin Coker and Adkins.
Southern Miss and East Carolina return on Sunday for the final game of the weekend series, with first pitch set for a 1 p.m. start at "The Pete."
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