Dominant hitting provides enough in sweep against Charlotte
Southern Miss (22-7, 8-1) traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the Charlotte 49ers in Conference USA action. The Golden Eagles looked to bounce back after a Mississippi State defeat on Tuesday. The Golden Eagles did not let Tuesday’s loss affect their play on the weekend as they swept the 49ers in their own home.
In the weekend series, the Golden Eagles scored 34 runs on 47 hits, culminating in a .417 batting average. The team also tallied five home runs. This weekend performance comes on the heels of the Golden Eagles already scoring at a 9.2 run average in conference play.
Southern Miss started off the series with an explosive 9-6 victory on Friday in the opening game of the series. In the contest, six Golden Eagles recorded multiple hits in the offensive display. Jake Sandlin, Chuckie Robinson, Taylor Braley and Storme Cooper all recorded two hits while Tracy Hadley added three in the contest.
In the contest, Southern Miss took the lead in the sixth inning and never gave it back to the 49ers.
In the sixth inning, the Golden Eagles scored six of their nine runs. After a walk and a player was hit by a pitch, Nick Dawson stepped to the plate and delivered a double resulting in both runners scoring, giving USM a 4-2 lead. After a fielding error put Dylan Burdeaux on base in the sixth inning, Hadley took his turn and singled to right field. Braley was the next batter and homered, giving him his 10th of the season while also giving Southern Miss a 7-2 lead.
The 49ers scored three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning but could not bridge the gap, losing 9-6 to Southern Miss.
The second day of play would go in similar fashion as the first as Southern Miss claimed victory by a score of 9-1. Statistically, the performance was similar to Friday as Southern Miss scored a similar nine runs on 15 hits.
The Golden Eagles had a nostalgic day as yet another pitcher, Nick Johnson, improved upon his perfect record. Johnson’s eight inning performance earned him his second win of the season pitching eight innings giving up seven hits and only giving up one run. Austin Millet cleaned up the ninth inning, but did not record the save.
The last game on Sunday proved to be the day for the 49ers in the outset. Charlotte scored three early runs in the bottom of the first inning, but Southern Miss had an answer — their offense.
Southern Miss would not let the early deficit deviate them from their plans on the sweep. Southern Miss scored 11 of their 16 runs in two innings alone in the fourth and the sixth. In the top of the fourth inning, the Golden Eagles scored five runs, taking a 5-4 lead on the 49ers.
Much like the fourth inning, the sixth inning proved to be productive as well for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss scored six runs on four hits in the inning. The two innings of non-stop scoring proved to be too much for the 49ers as Southern Miss completed the sweep with a final score of 16-6 in eight innings.
Southern Miss pitcher Cord Cockrell improved upon his perfect record in the series finale with his fifth win of the season. He finished with a line of 7.1 innings pitched giving up nine hits and six runs, combined with two strikeouts.
The Golden Eagles have won six of their last seven games, only dropping one to their in- state rival Mississippi State. Still looking for respect in the C-USA, Southern Miss is ranked 13th in the nation in RPI, over such powerhouses as Rice, Vanderbilt and LSU. With USM scoring and sweeping teams at a torrid pace not seen in Hattiesburg since the end of last season, it may not be far-fetched to see this team in an NCAA Regional this year.
Southern Miss looks to regain their footing against an SEC opponent this Tuesday as they face off against Ole Miss in Pearl, Mississippi.