Golden Eagles’ issues continue
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles’ struggles continued over the break as they went 3-4 while losing their series to Missouri 2-1, losing to South Alabama and taking two of three from Marshall.
USM was outscored 11-7 in their series against Missouri with their bats remaining relatively silent throughout. They dropped game one of the series 4-1 with their top four hitters combining to go hitless in 14 at-bats. Bradley Roney was the only Golden Eagle with more than one hit in the game.
They got a pretty strong outing from starter Conor Fisk who lasted 6 2/3 innings while allowing four runs on five hits, but fanned eight batters. Fisk now has 32 strikeouts in just 19 2/3 innings of work on the season.
In game two of the series, USM lost their third straight game by a score of 6-4. Tim Lynch, Mason Robbins and Connor Barron each had two hits in the game with Lynch connecting on three hits. Barron drove in two runners while Robbins drove in another.
Starter A.J. Glasshof struggled mightily, lasting just 1 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on five hits to go along with four walks. It appeared as though the game was going to get severely out of hand, but reliever Jake Winston was able to come in and right the ship.
Winston pitched 4 2/3 innings without surrendering a run and struck out two. USM was able to pull within one run in the sixth, but Missouri freshman Jake Ring stole home in the eighth inning to secure the victory.
Game three of the series was a true pitching duel as the two teams combined for just ten hits on the afternoon. USM starter Cameron Giannini continued his early season success as he turned in 7 2/3 innings of four hits ball, surrendering just one unearned run in the eighth inning before being replaced by Roney.
Roney also continued his dominance on the mound as he recorded the final four outs of the game to pick up his fifth save of the season. He struck out three of the four batters he got out.
Roney also had the lone highlight for Southern Miss at the plate when he connected on a two-run home run in the fourth inning to score Dylan Burdeaux. It was Roney’s first home run of the season. Those two runs proved to be the difference as USM picked up the win 2-1.
Southern Miss was set to play the University of New Orleans Privateers on Tuesday, but the game was cancelled due to severe weather in the Hattiesburg area.
USM continued play on Wednesday when South Alabama came to town boasting an 8-7 record coming in. Neither team was able to find success at the plate as they combined for just nine hits, but USM’s shaky defense once again proved to be the difference.
South Alabama was only able to connect on six hits, but five USM errors allowed them to put five runs on the board. Nick Dawson, Breck Kline, Taylor Nunez, Nick Johnson and Sean Buchholtz each committed an error for the Golden Eagles.
The pitching for USM was rather impressive as five pitchers combined to give up just one earned run while compiling eight total strike outs. Starter Cody Carroll lasted four innings, giving up just two hits without allowing a run.
Dawson drove in the lone USM run in the third inning on a single to centerfield, but USM mustered just two hits the rest of the way. South Alabama picked up their ninth win of the season in the 5-1 victory, dropping USM to 7-10.
USM’s fortunes finally turned when they traveled to Marshall Friday for a three game set to begin conference play. Another pitching duel took place Friday as starters Christian Talley of USM and Josh King of Marshall turned in stellar performances.
Talley pitched five strong innings, giving up three hits and four walks while striking out nine. The USM defense again let their pitcher down as Talley surrendered an unearned run in the sixth due to an error that extended the inning.
King entered the ninth inning with a 1-0 lead for Marshall, but USM was able to finally get something going against him. He left the game with the bases loaded and no outs despite the ball never leaving the infield.
Kline’s pinch hit magic showed up huge once again as connected on a 3-1 offering that turned into a two-run double that scored Lynch and Roney to give USM a 2-1 lead, their first of the day. Dawson would later add another run with a sacrifice fly before Roney picked up his sixth save of the season to seal the game.
USM’s bats finally came to life in game two of the series, the day portion of Saturday’s double header. They came out firing on all cylinders, scoring five runs in the first inning. Lynch homered after Barron and Sterling both struck out to lead off the inning.
USM would then load the bases, but Andrew Furr cleared them with a three-run double down the right field line. Marshall would cut the lead to four in the fourth inning, but Matt Durst extended the lead back to five with a solo shot in the fifth inning.
Barron made it a six-run game in the eighth inning when he connected on a solo home run of his own, USM’s third of the game. However, Marshall made it interesting in the bottom of the frame, collecting four runs to cut the lead to 7-5.
But USM’s offense was not done as they added two more runs in the ninth to put the game away. Kline delivered with another big pinch hit as he singled to right field with the bases loaded to score pinch runner Michael Gilbert. An error netted USM the second run of the inning.
Cameron Ginanni was solid once again as he picked up his second straight win after pitching 7 1/3 innings. Ryan Milton, who entered the game in the eighth inning for USM, picked up his first save of the season.
Game three of the series and the night tilt of the day-night double header did not go USM’s way however. A shaky start from Glasshof, who lasted just 3 2/3 innings, and an anemic offense paved way for USM to pick up their 11th loss of the season and first in conference play.
Barron was the only Southern Miss player with two hits as USM only registered five hits. Five of the eight starting position players failed to come away with a hit.
If USM is to start grouping together wins, they are going to have to change the narrative that has been their undoing all season. Their failure clump together hits and their error-prone defense will have to improve moving forward.
USM (9-11, 2-1) will continue their season when they play host to Louisiana-Monroe Tuesday before a three-game series against UTSA begins Friday.