No. 14 Southern Miss hosted No. 23 University of Louisiana at Lafayette at The Pete this Tuesday, beating the Ragin’ Cajuns, 7-2. The win gave the Golden Eagles its fifth win in a row, and secured 30 wins in a season for the 15th straight season.
Stevie Powers got the start for Southern Miss on the mound. He pitched four innings and gave up two runs on three hits. Also for Powers, he struck out three batters.
The early deficit Powers gave up to the Cajuns also gave them all of the early momentum. Southern Miss’ bats were cold in the first two innings that the Ragin’ Cajuns held their lead. The Golden Eagles only recorded one hit in eight at-bats.
“We’ve been putting good swings on the ball early,” said Chase Scott, who batted 1-of-3 on the night. “It was just a matter of time before we got things rolling.”
In the third inning, the Golden Eagles’ fortunes turned for the better. After Dylan Burdeaux and Jake Sandlin reached base on singles, Hunter Slater stepped up to the plate and delivered another single to bring in Burdeaux for the score. That score would cut the Cajuns lead to 2-1 headed into the fourth inning.
At the top of the fifth inning, Jake Winston, who has a 4.83 ERA in 41 innings before his appearance against the Ragin’ Cajuns, came in relief for Powers. Winston gave up one hit in his first inning’s appearance, which led to the Golden Eagles taking the momentum back in the game in the same inning.
“My main concern was just going in and hanging two [scoreless innings],” Winston said. “Keep that momentum in our dugout and try to continue that throughout the game.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Southern Miss knocked off two home runs by the way of Tim Lynch and Chase Scott. Burdeaux and Slater also had hits in the inning. All in all, USM put five runs on the board on four hits, putting them ahead 6-2.
The Golden Eagles would hold off the Cajuns from crossing home plate the rest of the game, while putting scoring a run of their own in the eight inning.
“When we gave up the two runs I was just glad it was early in the game and we had a lot of game to recover,” Berry said. “We got there in the fifth and obviously that was a big inning for us.
With Southern Miss’ highest ranking since 2011, the Golden Eagles will only play two more teams outside of the top 100 teams nationally in RPI. Although it will not be easy for USM, Berry thinks this team has garnered momentum down the stretch.
“We’re playing good baseball right now in confidence,” Berry said. “We need to keep going and moving forward to the next opportunity.”
Southern Miss will play New Orleans on Wednesday in New Orleans. First pitch is for 6:30 p.m.