Playing at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss. for the first time this season, the 16th-ranked Golden Eagles relied on 20 hits and 16 runs to defeat the Nicholls State Colonels by a score of 16 – 8 on April 18.
A five-run first inning put the Golden Eagles on top early. Dylan Burdeaux scored first for the team, after Hunter Slater hit a single to right field. Mason Irby then scored when Matt Wallner hit a single to center field, followed by a Slater score off Jake Viaene’s single. Wallner score on a fielder’s choice to round out scoring for the five-run inning.
Nicholls State cut the Southern Miss lead to two runs in the top of the third inning with Ethan Valdez and Juan Givan scored off of an RBI double for the Colonels, coupled with a Chet Niehaus score later in the inning to make the score, 5 -3.
The slim two-run lead did not hold for long as the Golden Eagles’ offense exploded to the tune of 10 runs in the third inning. Vianene and Bryant Bowen scored twice in the inning, along with Irby, Braley, Wallner, Burdeaux and Matthew Guidry, accounting for one run apiece to put the Golden Eagles ahead 15 – 3.
Things quieted down for the Golden Eagles’ offense after the third inning. The Colonels continued to chip away at the USM lead by scoring three runs in the fourth, fifth and eighth inning.
The Southern Miss lead was too big for the Colonels to overcome. However, Bowen closed out the game for the team by scoring off LeeMarcus Boyd’s RBI groundout in the eighth inning, giving the team 16 runs and the win.
Overall, 10 Golden Eagles totaled 20 hits against Nicholls State, with Burdeaux, Irby, Slater, Braley, Wallner, Bowen and Guidry each having multi-hit games.
The Golden Eagles improved to 29 – 9 overall in the season. They will face off against former C-USA rivals Tulane on Wednesday. First pitch in New Orleans is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.