Junior Cord Cockrell prepares to pitch against Ole Miss Wednesday night at Pete Taylor Park.- Brittney Roberts
The annual blackout game could not have gone any better for Southern Miss as they knocked off the No. 22 ranked Ole Miss Rebels, 5-1.
Southern Miss got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Tim Lynch walked and Taylor Braley doubled down the left field line, advancing Lynch to third base. Austin Roussel hit a sacrifice fly to left field to give USM the 1-0 lead.
The game appeared on its way to a pitchers’ duel as both teams combined for just five hits after the top of the sixth inning. But the Golden Eagle offense finally broke through.
Nick Dawson led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a great at-bat, drawing a nine-pitch walk. He fouled off five pitches to stay alive and started a rally. Dylan Burdeaux followed with a single through the left side.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Ole Miss manager Mike Bianco elected to go to the bullpen and bring in Jacob Waguespack. That move did not pay dividends though as Matt Durst doubled down the right field line to score Nick Dawson.
Then craziness ensued. Tim Lynch hit a routine fly ball to center field that dropped in, allowing Durst and Burdeaux to score while Lynch was able to advance to third. Waguespack was finally able to get an out by striking out Taylor Braley, but was pulled for lefty Scott Ashford.
But Ashford did not last long either, issuing a four-pitch walk to Roussel before being replaced by Drake Robison. Michael Sterling then hit a sacrifice fly to score Lynch from third and increase the USM lead to 5-0. Breck Kline struck out to end the inning, but the damage had already been done as the Golden Eagles plated four runs in the inning.
Ole Miss finally got to USM starter Cord Cockrell in the top of the seventh, but only managed one run. With Sikes Orvis on second base, catcher Holt Perdzock singled to center field for an RBI single, but was thrown out at second by Connor Barron who alertly caught Perdzock trying to turn his single into a double, ending the inning.
The run ended a 25.2 inning scoreless streak by the USM pitching staff.
Cockrell delivered a stellar performance on the mound for the Golden Eagles, pitching seven innings, allowed just one run on five hits and no walks while striking out five to pick up his first win of the young season.
Despite USM failing to get anything going at the plate in the seventh and eighth innings, Jake Winston made sure there was no need for concern. He closed out the game with two perfect innings to pick up his first save of the season.
Although the Golden Eagles only managed four hits, they were able to manufacture runs. They drew five walks, had three sacrifice flies and stole a base.
With the win over their in-state rival, the Golden Eagles improved to 7-4-1 while dropping the Rebels to 6-5.
USM will look to extend its current four-game winning streak this weekend as it hosts the hapless Oakland Golden Grizzlies (0-8) in a three-game series at Pete Taylor Park.