Baseball Uses Three Solo Home Runs And Strong Performance From Russum To Stay Alive In Tuscaloosa Regional, Eliminates Jacksonville State, 6-2
Will Play Loser Of Alabama-Troy At 2:30 p.m., On Sunday
June 3, 2006
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Southern Miss used three solo home runs, one each by Drew Carson, Brian Dozier and Jody Blount in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings respectively, a two-RBI single by Toddric Johnson in the ninth and got a solid, seven-inning outing by Cliff Russum, as it eliminated Jacksonville State, 6-2, to stay alive in the Tuscaloosa Regional today.
With the win, Southern Miss improves to 39-22, while Jacksonville State ends its season at 35-24. The win also snapped a five-game losing streak in NCAA Regional play, dating back to the team's 6-5 victory over College of Charleston on June 4, 2004.
Jacksonville State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, as Garrett Bass homered to right field with two outs.
Southern Miss threatened in the second, as Bo Davis had a bunt single down the first base side to start the inning. Davis went to third on back-to-back groundouts by Dozier and Trey Sutton, but was left stranded there.
The Gamecocks threatened in the third. Jason Horn singled to center to start the frame and went to second on a one-out, bloop single to right by Bert Smith. Both players went to third and second respectively on a groundout by Nick Cleckler, but Russum struck out Bass to end the threat.
Southern Miss tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Carson hit a high fly ball that carried and stayed fair over the right field fence, his fifth of the year.
The Golden Eagles took their first lead of the game in the top of the fifth. With two outs, Dozier homered down the left field line, his third of the year, as he connected on a long ball for the second time in as many days.
Southern Miss stretched its lead to 3-1 in the sixth. With one out, Johnson singled to second base and went to second on a throwing error by Gamecock first baseman Eric Beck on the play. Johnson went to third on a single through the left side by Blount, before scoring on a RBI sacrifice fly to left by Carson. Then Kevin Coker singled to left and Bailey Hartel walked to load the bases, but Gamecock starter Tony Drinkard struck out Davis to end the threat.
With one out in the eighth, Blount homered to right, giving the Golden Eagles a 4-1 lead with his 10th home run of the season.
Southern Miss broke the game open in the ninth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Johnson delivered a two-RBI single to center, scoring pinch hitter Luke Adkins and Dozier, to make the score 6-1.
Jacksonville State loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth and got a RBI fielder's choice by Smith to make the score 6-2, before closer Daniel Best got Clckler to ground out to end the game.
Cliff Russum (8-6) got the win for Southern Miss, working seven innings, allowing five hits and one run, walking two and striking out for. Best earned his 13th save of the season, working the final 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and a run, walking one.
Drinkard (4-5) took the loss for Jacksonville State, allowing six hits and three runs in six innings of work, walking two and striking out six.
Dozier finished with three hits to lead Southern Miss, while Johnson and Carson each had two RBIs.
Southern Miss will play the loser of the Alabama-Troy game at 2:30 p.m., on Sunday. Palmer said following the game that either Ryan Belanger or David Clark will start the first game Sunday, depending on the outcome of the Troy-Alabama game.
"I'll need to look at some charts," Palmer said. "We'll go from there."
Should the Golden Eagles win the first game on Sunday, they will meet either Alabama or Troy in the championship round at 6:30 p.m., needing two win twice to claim the Tuscaloosa Regional title. If the Golden Eagles win twice Sunday, it will set up a championship game at 2 p.m., on Monday.
Southern Miss Post-Game Notes: Jacksonville State
Today's game marks the first meeting with Jacksonville State.
Today's win over Jacksonville State snapped a five-game NCAA Tournament losing streak dating back to the first game of the Baton Rouge Regional when Southern Miss defeated College of Charleston on June 1, 2004, 6-5.
The win today gave Southern Miss its 39th win of the season for the fourth-straight season and needs one more win to break 40 for the fourth-straight year.
The save by Best gives Southern Miss 16 for the season, which ties the 1999 team for third base in the school's history.
Southern Miss hit three home runs in today's game, which is the most since the Golden Eagles hit three homers in a game since Marshall on April 29 ... They have hit five in the tournament, giving them 81 for the season, which is fifth best in the school's history.
The win today also gave Cliff Russum his eighth win of the season, tying him with Ryan Belanger for tops on the team .... He currently has 23 for his career, which ties him with Damon Pollard, 1989-90, for second place on the all-time list ... He threw seven complete innings, giving him 289, passing Damon Pollard for third place on the school's list ... He had four strikeouts today which give him 232 for his career, moving him into sixth place, passing Chuck Shive (1987-89), who had 231 ... He now has 65 career appearances, which tie Jason Fortenberry (1995-98) for eighth place.
Brian Dozier, who tied his career high in hits with three today, did this for the ninth time this season ... He hit his third home run of the season today and second in as many days ... For the tournament, he has hit 5-8 with four runs scored and drove in four runs.
Drew Carson hit his fifth of the season today
Jody Blount hit his 10th homer of the season today ... His 10 home runs are the most he has hit in a season.
Marc Maddox tied Brad Willcutt for most games played in a career with 243 and he will break the record tomorrow ... He had a walk in today's game, giving him 120 for his career, tying him with Ive Burnett (1983-86) for fourth place all-time on Southern Miss' list.
Daniel Best tied Tony Phillips (1991) for most saves in a single season with 13 ... He also now has 25 in his career, already the school record.