Southern Miss Blanks LA Tech 2-0 Sunday to Win C-USA Baseball Series
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Four Southern Miss pitchers combined to blank Louisiana Tech 2-0 at Pete Taylor Park Sunday afternoon to give the Golden Eagles a Conference USA series victory and first place in the league standings.
The Golden Eagles (36-15 overall, 20-7 C-USA) won their seventh league series in nine tries and improved to 13-0 this season in the final game of weekend sets.
Coupled with a Rice 10-3 loss to Florida Atlantic, which completed the suspended game from Saturday, and the final game of the series canceled due to rain later in the day at 4-4 in the middle of the fifth, Southern Miss now holds a half game lead in the standings heading into the final week of the regular season. The Golden Eagles are that half-game over Rice, as well as being one game in front of Marshall and a 1.5 games above Florida Atlantic.
Freshman Walker Powell, in his second career start, went a season-high 5 1/3 innings and fanned a season best four, while allowing just three hits and one walk to get the victory and improve to 4-2 on the year.
Fellow freshman Stevie Powers got two outs to go along with allowing two singles to end the sixth and junior Hayden Roberts got a groundout to open the seventh, before walking a pair. The Golden Eagles then turned the game over to another freshman, Nick Sandlin.
Sandlin got two fly ball outs in to end the seventh and worked around two runners on in the ninth to capture his 10th save of the year. Sandlin threw the final 2 2/3 innings, giving just one hit and a hit batter, while fanning two down the stretch. The four pitchers combined to now allow a Bulldog runner past second past in the contest.
"Real proud of the way those young men went out and competed on a tough conference weekend, particularly with everything that was riding on the line today," said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry. "I thought Walker handled the stage very well, as did Stevie Powers and Sandlin coming in and getting his 10th save."
Southern Miss registered its fourth shutout of the season and held the Bulldogs (34-16, 16-11) scoreless over the final 16 innings of the series.
Redshirt freshman Hunter Slater scored the game's first run in the second on a run-scoring single by Daniel Keating, after leading off the frame with a double. Chase Scott then added a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third to complete the game's scoring.
The Golden Eagles, currently 5-1 on their current seven-game homestand, play their final regular-season home contest Tuesday with a 5 p.m., contest against ULM. Southern Miss completes the regular season next Thursday-Saturday in Miami at FIU in its final C-USA series.