The No.12 Golden Eagles (23-11, 9-4 C-USA) closed out their three-game series against Florida International University (17-19, 7-8 C-USA) in explosive fashion with a 13-1 mercy rule win on Sunday.
The Golden Eagles started the series off hot on Friday night behind junior Stevie Powers’ complete game shutout, 5-0. Powers was consistent throughout his outing, tossing 10 strikeouts while allowing nine hits and only one walk.
The Southern Miss offense gave Powers all the support he needed, led by sophomore Matt Wallner’s ninth home run of the season to open the scoring in the top of the second inning. Freshman outfielder Gabe Montenegro turned in a two-run RBI performance to continue his breakout 2018 campaign.
The Saturday meeting between the two teams ended up being a heart-breaker for the Golden Eagles as they dropped the contest 5-4 with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Southern Miss had every opportunity to overcome the Panthers’ lead but left 11 runners stranded and wasted an 11-hit performance.
Junior Luke Reynolds cut the deficit, 5-4, for the Golden Eagles with a tworun RBI single in the top of the seventh inning. However, that was as close as Southern Miss would get to taking the lead.
The Golden Eagles continued their impressive performance at the plate on the weekend to close the series out on Sunday. Southern Miss turned in a 12hit performance and 10-run ruled the Panthers.
Senior LeeMarcus Boyd’s two-run home run in the top of the third inning was his fourth of the year and gave the Golden Eagles a commanding lead, 5-1.
The offense erupted in the top of the seventh inning when the Golden Eagles battered the Panthers, turning eight hits into six runs and slamming the door on the series in front of the FIU home crowd.
Junior pitcher Mason Strickland recorded his first victory of the season, allowing four hits with one earned run to go along with four strikeouts. Junior J.C. Keyes collected the first save of his career behind four strikeouts and one walk in three scoreless innings of relief.
The two conference wins puts the Golden Eagles within a half a game behind C-USA leader Florida Atlantic University (26-9, 11-4 C-USA).
Southern Miss travels to Hammond, Louisiana, on April 17 to take on Southeastern Louisiana (25-15, 12-6 Southland). First pitch is set for 6 p.m.