May 20, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Golden Eagle baseball team put on an offensive show in their final home performance of the 2006 season Saturday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field, highlighted by a season-best 10 runs scored in the second inning, as Southern Miss defeated UCF, 18-3, in seven innings to sweep the series in front of 3,303.
With the win, Southern Miss finishes conference play tied for fourth place with Memphis, but because of the tiebreaker, the Golden Eagles will be with fifth seed in the upcoming C-USA Baseball Championship on May 24-28 at Reckling Park in Houston, Texas.
The game also marked the final home game for eight Golden Eagles seniors - Cole Basinger, Daniel Best, Matt Caire, Kevin Coker, Marc Maddox, Scott Massey, Brad Owen and Cliff Russum. Coker left his mark on Southern Miss baseball history in the fifth inning, as he was hit by a pitch for the 20th time to become the single-season hit by pitch leader.
Southern Miss (37-19, 13-11) scored 18 runs on 15 hits, while UCF (23-33, 5-19) scored three runs on seven hits and committed five errors.
"This win was huge," Head Coach Corky Palmer said. "Closing out the season with 37 wins is pretty good, and we just might be playing our best baseball right now. Overall, I'm very happy to get the win for our seniors, and it's great to get another win for Southern Miss."
Russum (7-5) earned the win for Southern Miss, pitching 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while striking out two. Tim Bascom (5-6) suffered the loss for UCF, pitching one inning, giving up six runs on six hits while walking one.
Coker led the Golden Eagle offense with three hits, one hit by pitch and five RBIs, while Trey Sutton also added three hits and two RBIs.
Steve Stropp and Kiko Vazquez each finished with two hits to lead the Golden Knights.
Southern Miss opened the game with four runs to take the early 4-0 lead in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Coker connected on a two-run single that scored Trey Sutton, and Toddric Johnson for the first two runs of the game. Then with Michael Ewing and Coker still on base, Luke Adkins reloaded the bases with a single to set up Jody Blount who has hit by a pitch to plate Ewing for the third run. Bo Davis next stepped up to the plate to deliver a sacrifice fly that scored Coker for the fourth run of the inning.
The Golden Eagles exploded for 10 runs in the second inning to create a 14-0 lead highlighted by an RBI single by Marc Maddox that scored Sutton, a two-run double by Ewing that scored Johnson and Maddox, Coker and Davis each contributed groundouts that scored Ewing and Adkins, respectively, Dozier hit an RBI single that scored Blount, Sutton hit an RBI single that scored Dozier, Sutton scored again in the inning when Johnson reached on a throwing error by second baseman Danny Kash, Maddox scored again, this time on a wild pitch, and Coker closed out the scoring run with an RBI single that scored Johnson.
In the third inning, Blount hit a solo shot over the center field wall to increase the Golden Eagle lead to 15-0.
UCF slugged two back-to-back home runs to total three runs in the fourth inning to bring the score to 15-3, as Ryan Bono hit a solo shot to right field followed by Chadd Hartman who hit a two-run homer to center field that scored Vazquez.
A walk by Sutton with the bases loaded in the fifth inning plated Luke Adkins on increase Southern Miss' lead to 16-3.
The Golden Eagles scored two final runs in the sixth inning to build their lead to 18-3, as Coker and Adkins each hit an RBI single to score Johnson and Ewing, respectively.
Southern Miss will now travel to Houston, Texas, for the 2006 C-USA Baseball Championship hosted by Rice. The Golden Eagles, as the No. 5 seed, will face Memphis on Wednesday night at 7:30 central time.
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