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Baseball Wins Season Opener, 3-1

Feb. 22, 2008

HATTIESBURG, Miss - The University of Southern Mississippi baseball team used great pitching and a solid defense to win the season opener 3-1 in front of 3,347 fans Friday evening at Pete Taylor Park.

Southern Miss starting pitcher Barry Bowden (1-0) picked up his first win of the season tossing five-and-a-third innings while allowing only three hits and striking out four.

"Barry did a good job for his first start of the season, he got to the sixth and got a little bit tired, but he was also at his pre-set pitch count," head coach Corky Palmer said.

The Southern Miss bullpen was just as impressive. Junior College transfer Wade Weathers made his Southern Miss debut throwing two-and-two-thirds innings without allowing a hit and striking out four. Tyler Conn picked up his first save of the season, pitching a perfect ninth, striking out two.

"I am real proud of the way Weathers pitched tonight," Palmer said "He came in and just threw strikes tonight and got people out which is impressive for someone pitching in their first division-one game."

The Southern Miss (1-0) offense started the game red hot. Leadoff hitter Bo Davis singled to start the Golden Eagle half of the first and shortstop Brian Dozier followed with a single of his own. Catcher Keith Winstead doubled over the center fielders head picking up an RBI as Davis came around to score.

Later in the inning, Trey Sutton came into score on James Ewing's bases loaded single to left field to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead after the first inning.

In the second inning Winstead added his second RBI of the game on a two-out single to left field scoring Brian Dozier, who reached base earlier in the inning on another single.

"I thought that we came out real aggressive offensively. We really had something going but missed some opportunities to break the game open early," Palmer said.

In all, Southern Miss pounded out 10 hits in the season opener, including three hits for Dozier and two hits for Winstead.

The Southern Miss pitchers held Lipscomb (0-1) to three hits on the evening, while striking out 10.

The defensive play of the game came in the top of the fourth with one Lipscomb runner on base and Lipscomb first baseman Ryan Wilkins at the plate. He hit a towering drive over the left field wall but left fielder Drew Carson jumped just high enough to reach over the wall and take away a sure two-run homerun.

"Drew Carson made a great play, those two runs are the difference in the game," Palmer added.

The Bison were finally able to scratch away a run in the top of the sixth inning. A leadoff walk to centerfielder Allen Bolden and a single by Caleb Joseph started the rally. Bolden moved to third on a fielders choice and came in to score on a sacrifice fly to center field by Ryan Wilkins.

In the fifth inning Southern Miss first baseman Trey Sutton singled to left field to extend his hitting streak to 22 games, dating back to the Tulane series of last season.

Southern Miss will return to the diamond tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. and conclude the three-game series with Lipscomb Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

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