May 11, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Andrew Pierce pitched a three-hit shutout to lead Southern Miss to a 1-0 Conference USA series-opening win over East Carolina here Friday night at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles (26-22 overall, 10-9 C-USA) had a season-high four-game losing streak snapped in the game as the squad managed three hits of their own in the contest.
Pierce (7-3) registered his fifth contest in which he struck out 10 or more in a game, finishing with 11 punch outs while walking just one and hitting a batter. Only one runner reached second base for the Pirates (32-17-1, 13-8-1) as the Golden Eagles turned two double players and threw out a potential base stealer in the contest.
"Andrew was lights out, and so was (Kevin) Brandt," said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry. "That was a great college baseball game, and really, you're going to see more games like tonight's contest that are dictated by pitching and defense at this level from now on."
Kevin Brandt was equally as strong on the mound for ECU. Brandt threw eight strong innings and allowed just an unearned run on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
The Pirate southpaw retired eight in a row before Ashley Graeter reached base on a ground ball to third base that Corey Thompson threw wildly and the hitter ended up at second base.
Brandt then got a strikeout before Isaac Rodriguez singled up the middle and Graeter was safe sliding just in front of the tag at home on a strong throw by the centerfielder Ben Fultz.
Pierce then gave up just one hit over the last two innings and got John Wooten to strike out to end the game.
The two teams will continue the series with a 10 a.m., contest Saturday. The game was moved up by Southern Miss officials to beat rain expected in Hattiesburg later in the day.
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