Golden Eagles bounce back with 10-5 win over UAB

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Matt Wallner reaches base in all five of his at-bats. Photo by: Noah Martin

“We did enough to win a baseball game,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said.

The Golden Eagles rebounded from its Thursday loss with a 10-5 win over UAB on Friday night.

Southern Miss took the game early in the first inning with a pair of home runs putting the Golden Eagles ahead 3-0.

Matthew Guidry got things started with a solo home run to left field in the second at-bat.

“I was trying to have a competitive at-bat and not strikeout,” Guidry said. “I’d hope so [that it started momentum]. You need a spark somehow, but I’m glad that I was able to do something and bring that spark of energy. Then you have that great at-bat by Slater following it up. I wouldn’t say I personally sparked anything. I just think that it was a string of things which has always been the culture here just passing it off to the next guy.”

That next guy came quickly for Southern Miss as Matt Wallner quickly followed with a two-run home run which puts him just one home run away from tying the school’s all-time career record in home runs.

“I’m just trying to keep it pretty simple and just go up there and barrel baseballs,” Wallner said. “I was able to do that tonight. I’m just trying to stay in that zone and just keep it simple.”

For Berry and the rest of the Golden Eagles, the first inning has been crucial in the team’s success.

“Obviously in the first inning putting a zero up and following up with three in the bottom,” Berry said. “I think we’re 15-1 now after were ahead in the first inning. Obviously, that’s a key.”

The Golden Eagles had another big inning in the third with four runs scoring. Brant Blaylock knocked in a pair of runs with an RBI double and a two-run RBI single from Danny Lynch to take a 7-0 lead.

UAB scored its five runs between the seventh and ninth innings and cut the lead 8-3. However, Southern Miss scored a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning off a wild pitch and a sac fly scoring another.

On the mound, starter Stevie Powers recorded the win. In six complete innings, he gave up five hits, walked three batters and struck out five.

“Stevie what can you say about him in his last outing?” Berry said. “He’s been really gutting it out with his shoulder. Honestly, he could probably opt to have surgery, but he didn’t want to miss his senior year for that. He knows he’ll probably never play again. He wanted to do whatever he could to help us and it certainly showed tonight.”

Wallner finished 3-for-3 with two RBI and reached base in all five of his at-bats while Guidry finished 2-for-5 with an RBI.

Despite the win, Florida Atlantic locked up the No. 1 seed after defeating Middle Tennessee.  However, Southern Miss and FAU can still share a regular season championship if Middle Tennessee defeats the Owls and if the Golden Eagles defeat UAB in the final game of the regular season.

“School’s out and we’re playing baseball so there’s not too much to complain about,” Guidry said. “There’s not too much to complain about if we’re going to complain about being in second place. I feel like we may need to humble ourselves a little bit. First place is always the goal it’s what this program expects every year but you have to find the positives in everything.”

First pitch against UAB on Saturday is set for 1 p.m.