USM off to best conference start since 2004

Monday 14th, April 2014 / 00:02 by

Despite a 4-3 loss through 11 innings against Mississippi State University on Tuesday, April 8 The University of Southern Mississippi got back on track facing The University of Alabama-Birmingham in a three-game weekend series at Young Memorial Field.

On Friday, a pinch-hit single by Chuckie Robinson saved the Golden Eagles as they defeated the Blazers 4-3 in the ninth inning to win the game.

UAB jumped out to an early lead, hitting three singles with one coming from Nathan Vincent to give UAB the lead 1-0 in the bottom of the first.

Throughout the next three innings, neither team scored. However, in the fifth, Evan Peterson hit a safety squeeze bunt to bring home Ryan Prinzing from third base, increasing the lead for Blazers 2-0.

In the seventh inning, the game got interesting. Bradley Rooney hit a double before Dylan Burdeaux hit a huge RBI single to send Rooney to home plate for the Golden Eagles their first run of the game.

Going into the ninth, Southern Miss trailed 2-1. After both Bradley Roney and Dylan Burdeaux were hit by pitches from Turner Lee, Chuckie Robinson then hit an RBI single to bring Roney home for the tying run.

UAB pitcher Adam Lee then walked the next two Southern Miss players, leading to Breck Kline scoring the winning run.

Luke Lowery came into the game in the seventh to get a strikeout to end the inning. Golden Eagle starter Christian Talley allowed two runs on eight hits and had just one strikeout over 6 2/3 innings. Lowery threw another perfect inning to get the win for Southern Miss, improving to 2-0. Roney led the Golden Eagles with two hits.

Chase Mallard allowed a run on six hits with five strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. Lee (1-2) suffered the loss.

With the win, Southern Miss won its fifth contest in seven games and fourth victory in the ninth inning this season.

Chase Davis hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Southern Miss 6-5 Saturday afternoon.

Southern Miss took the early 3-0 lead. Matt Durst hit a sacrifice fly to give the Golden Eagles their first run. Dylan Burdeaux piled on two more runs with a double to center field with the bases loaded.

However, in the bottom of the third, the Blazers scored four runs to take their first lead in the game. After a leadoff, four-pitch walk to Ivan DeJesus, Matt Morse hit a single and Adam Smith reached on a base-hit bunt to load the bases.

Davis put the Blazers on the scoreboard with a groundout to first, scoring DeJesus. Then, Ryan Prinzing hit a two-run single. Jeff Schalk gave the Blazers the lead with a sacrifice fly to end the inning.

In the fifth, Griffin Gum increased the lead to 5-3 for UAB on a run-scoring double. In the sixth, the Golden Eagles loaded the bases on three back-to-back hits, which led to Durst grounding into a double play to knock in Kline. After a wild pitch, Sterling then scored to tie the game.

Despite a strong rally by Southern Miss, the Blazers dominated the eighth inning. UAB pitcher Thomas Lowry (3-1) entered the game, throwing 3 1/3 innings without a run earned. He struck out seven batters, allowed one walk with three strikeouts to get the victory for the Blazers.

Jake Winston pitched five innings before Conor Fisk entered the game in the sixth, giving up a run on four hits and two strikeouts to fall to 3-2.

The Blazers snapped the Golden Eagles’ six-game winning streak against them with the win.

In the series finale, Southern Miss defeated UAB 8-7 in extra innings to get the dramatic comeback victory Sunday afternoon.

Southern Miss scored first to open the game. With one out and Michael Sterling on first after being hit by a pitch, Tim Lynch doubled to score Sterling on the play. Lynch then scored on a passed ball to increase the Golden Eagles lead to 2-0.

The Blazers fought back hard in the fourth. UAB recorded five hits in the inning. Jeff Schalk homered to right to start a four-run rally. The Blazers led 4-2 at the end of the inning.

In the fifth, Southern Miss (21-16, 10-5) cut the deficit to a run on a double play groundout by Kline to plate a run. Griffin Gum hit a solo home in the bottom of the inning to retake a two-run lead.

The Blazers (24-12, 10-5) capitalized on three errors by the Golden Eagles in the sixth to take a 7-4 advantage.

Then in the ninth, with the bases loaded, Lynch cleared the bases with a hit to right field to clear the bases and tie the score at 7-7.

With the game knotted a 7-7 in the tenth inning, Austin Roussel drew a two-out walk. Blazer pitcher then walked Mason Robbins before Dawson hit a RBI single to drive in the winning run for the Golden Eagles.

Golden Eagle reliever Ryan Milton (3-2) pitched the final three innings of the game. In the ninth he recorded two flyouts to left field and a strikeout to end the game.

Lynch extended his hitting streak to nine games with three hits on the afternoon.

With the victory, the Golden Eagles won their fifth C-USA series, their best start since the 2004 team accomplished the same feat.

Southern Miss returns to action Tuesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. They will face LSU at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La., as a part of the Wally Pontiff, Jr., Classic.

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