Southern Miss takes C-USA regular season championship with a sweep of Marshall


After hitting a tough two-game skid against Louisiana Tech and the University of New Orleans, the Southern Miss baseball team got back on track against Marshall, earning a sweep in the final series of the regular season.

The Golden Eagles clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming C-USA tournament with a 10-2 win in game one of the series. Southern Miss got off to a quick start against the Thundering Herd, scoring two runs in the first inning and five runs in the second. The team added three more runs in the fourth, fifth, and ninth innings to extend their lead and seal the win.

Gabe Montenegro led the way for Southern Miss in the lineup by going 3-for-5 with two RBI’s. Matt Wallner also chipped in with two hits and two RBI’s, while Daniel Keating hit the team’s only home run in the fifth inning.

On the mound, Nick Sandlin rebounded from his last appearance against LA Tech by allowing only two runs on seven hits and striking out eight batters in eight innings of work.

In game two on Friday, Southern Miss faced a deficit early on. Marshall added runs in the bottom of the first and third innings to lead the Golden Eagles 2-0. The team was held scoreless until the top of the sixth inning, when Wallner, Hunter Slater, Luke Reynolds and Cole Donaldson had hits that contributed to the Golden Eagles taking a lead. Casey Maack also hit a three-run home run in the inning to extend the lead to 5-2 over Marshall.

Reynolds extended the Southern Miss lead in the seventh inning with a two-run home run, giving the team a 7-2 advantage. Though Marshall cut that lead by scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth, the Golden Eagles held on in the ninth for the 7-4 win.

Walker Powell had a tough day on the mound for Southern Miss, going seven innings and allowing four runs on eight hits. Powell also had five strikeouts on the day and did not walk a batter over his seven innings pitched.

The bats picked up on Saturday for the Golden Eagles in game three, with the team recording 18 runs on a season-high 21 hits. Reynolds continued his hot offensive performance in the series with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, but Marshall scored one run in the bottom of the first inning to cut that early lead. Southern Miss then began its offensive tear, scoring eight runs in the second inning.

After the second inning, Marshall held the Golden Eagles scoreless for the next six innings. The Thundering Herd added seven runs after the eight-run inning to narrow the Southern Miss lead to 10-8 heading into the ninth. Led by Slater and his three-run home run in the top of the ninth, the Golden Eagles scored eight more runs in the inning to put the game away, defeating the Thundering Herd,18-9.

Keller Bradford was credited with the win in game three. Bradford pitched one inning and allowed two runs on two hits in five at-bats. Wallner started on the mound, pitching four innings and striking out six batters. Wallner also allowed seven hits and five runs against Marshall.

With the series sweep, Southern Miss finishes the season with a 39-15 overall record, including a 23-6 record in conference play. The team will open play in the C-USA baseball tournament next Wednesday against the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Biloxi. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.