In the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, Southern Miss was tied with Marshall 3-3. With the bases loaded, Bryant Bowen stepped to the plate and hit a walk-off winner to take the first game with a 4-3 win.
“I was really just sticking to my approach [at the plate],” Bowen said. “[Marshall’s pitcher] had thrown six out of his last seven breakers and he missed really wide. He kind of abandoned the approach and went back to a fastball and he left it up and I was able to handle it.”
FINAL: Southern Miss 4 Marshall 3
Bryant Bowen hits a walk off single and extends his hitting streak to 12 games. pic.twitter.com/UnvNIM59lk
— Andrew Abadie (@AndrewAbadie) April 6, 2019
Bowen’s hitting helped Southern Miss not only get the series win against Marshall but also helped stage a comeback win to secure the Golden Eagles’ sweep over the Thundering Herd.
Gabe Montenegro led off the ninth inning with a triple to set up the game-winning run. In response, Marshall intentionally walked two Southern Miss batters to get to Bowen.
“In Game 1 you saw two individuals in the ninth inning,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “Bryant himself who was 0-for-3 going into that last at-bat with an RBI with a bases-loaded walk. You had Gabe Montenegro who hadn’t had a hit and really had not had good at-bats. But we always talk about that your last at-bat is the most important. Obviously, we saw that with Montenegro with a triple there and then they load the bases intentionally to get to Bowen and he doesn’t miss his pitch which he hasn’t the last few weeks.”
However, Bowen’s heroics did not stop there as his performance helped lead Southern Miss to an 11-10 comeback win in Game 2 to clinch the sweep over Marshall.
“The lull of a two-game day,” Bowen said. “You kind of are like, you’ve got an hour and a half left, a few more innings, you just got to get out of it but there was a little doubt. If you play baseball long enough games like this happen.”
Despite holding a 5-3 lead at the end of the fifth inning, Southern Miss’s pitching gave up seven-run inning to Marshall in the sixth, allowing the Thundering Herd to take a 10-5 lead.
The Golden Eagles’ bat stayed hot in the bottom of the sixth inning though, and behind them was Bowen again. Montenegro led the inning off with a walk, with Hunter Slater following him by hitting an RBI double. Bowen again stepped to the plate and hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard to cut the lead to 10-8 and keep the Southern Miss rally going.
“The guy threw my five breakers and he finally hung one,” Bowen said. “I was able to get it and it got us back going. Really I have got to give a lot of credit to Gabe Montenegro for leading it off and then Slater brings him in and just rally through it right there.”
Bowen helped put the nail in the coffin as he drove in the game-tying run at 10-10 with Slater scoring the go-ahead run on a double steal.
After going 1-for-4 and driving in two runs in his first game, Bowen finished the second game 4-for-4, scoring three times and knocking in four RBI.
“I was very impressed with how Marshall competed, they play with a lot of energy and we had to match that energy so I was very pleased with us especially coming off a tough loss Tuesday night,” Berry said. “That was basically a circus and wasn’t characteristic of the way we played. So to be able to move to the next opportunity last night, win that, come out and win the first game today and not be satisfied and go ahead and sweep up [was my biggest takeaway].”
With the win, Southern Miss improves to 20-9 overall and 10-2 in Conference USA, while Marshall falls to 18-13 overall and 6-6 in C-USA.
The Golden Eagles will travel to Pearl, Mississippi to play Ole Miss for a midweek matchup at Trustmark Park at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.