Southern Miss (4-3) suffered its third straight loss and its first of the season at home in a 2-1 defeat by the New Orleans Privateers (6-1) on Tuesday night. Despite six hits, the Golden Eagles only brought home one run and left 11 stranded on base.
Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said his team is fully aware of where it currently stands and its need to dig out of this offensive slump.
“We had multiple opportunities to drive in runs and execute,” Berry said. “We didn’t get it done. We’ve got to learn in those situations to stand up and get it done. Until we learn that, we’re going to struggle offensively.”
The Golden Eagles’ made a lot of early contact and even took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning. Matt Wallner recorded an early double, his first hit in 11 trips to the plate. He reached home plate two at-bats later on a sacrifice fly ball hit by freshman Will McGillis.
Unfortunately, the 1-0 lead only stood for half an inning, as the Privateers answered right away with two runs of their own in the top of the third, ultimately bringing the game to its final score of 2-1.
New Orleans threw an awful lot of different looks at Southern Miss, with eight different pitchers seeing action over the nine-inning contest. Brandon Mitchell was credited with the win, having pitched two full innings and allowing one run on just two hits. Jarod Wright (0-1) took the loss on Southern Miss’ end after giving up two runs on six hits through 2.1 innings of play.
Berry was complimentary of the effort by his bullpen to pitch out of tough situations and give the team a fighting chance to win, particularly Alex Nelms, who pitched three innings and surrendered no runs on just one hit while collecting a career-high four strikeouts.
J.C. Keys also made an appearance on the mound in the top of the seventh inning with two runners in scoring position and only one out. Keys pitched his way out of that jam without allowing any runs, and Gabe Montenegro made an incredible throw from centerfield to home plate to save a run and end the inning.
“They gave up two runs on nine hits, and I think they had  strikeouts on the night,” Berry said. “You couldn’t ask any more from our pitching staff and how they gave our offense a chance. We’re not competing [on offense] like you have to right now.”
Coach Berry and the Golden Eagles will have another opportunity to get back on track with a home series this weekend against the Gonzaga Bulldogs (2-6). The series will start at 4:00 p.m. on Friday evening. Games two and three are scheduled for noon on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.