“The seventh, eighth inning it’s basically my game to lose,” Walker Powell said after throwing the Golden Eagles’ first complete game shutout of the season in the 11-0 win over Old Dominion on Friday night.
Powell gave up only three hits and a hit batter but struck out six batters in just 97 pitches.
“[Pitching coach Christian Ostrander] said that he knew that I could go all nine [and he] was seeing I wasn’t getting too fatigued,” Powell said.
Of Powell’s 97 pitches, 71 of them were strikes, which means 73 percent of his pitches were in the strike zone. In addition, of the 31 batters Powell faced, 14 of them grounded out.
“That’s the late action on the cutter,” Powell explained on how there were so many ground outs. “Right as [the cutter is] crossing the plate it has a little bite to it. The cutter had some good late action on it. I was able to locate it pretty well and come back with a curveball and slider.”
Behind Powell was Southern Miss’ offense, which recorded 12 hits on the night.
“I feel like our offense is back on track,” Gabe Montenegro said after going 3-for-5. “We got our confidence back. Of course, it helps that Walker did a great job out there. The only that has changed is that we are starting to accept our roles [on the team].”
The Golden Eagles scored in six of the eight innings the team stepped to the plate, putting up three runs back-to-back in the third and fourth innings.
“We came back out offensively we’ve been swinging it pretty good these last five games and it continued on tonight,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “We only left eight on tonight. We just kept getting the runs in. We got the innings started sometimes with a hit by a pitch or walk but the main thing is we kept the momentum going by scoring runs. We had two three-run innings. It’s hard to recover from that when you got a guy on the mound that was throwing as good as he was tonight.”
Despite going 1-for-4, Brant Blaylock knocked in four RBI with the first happening on a fielder’s choice. Blaylock hit in two more runs on a two-run RBI single and then scored himself on a wild pitch after stealing second base and then advancing to third base on a throwing error. His final RBI came after getting hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, where he scored a run with the bases loaded.
Matthew Guidry extended his hitting streak to eight games in a row after going 1-for-2 with two RBI. Hunter Slater was 3-for-3 with three RBI and in the four of his last five games has had at least three hits and gone 12-for-20.
Southern Miss improves to 13-6 and 4-0 in Conference USA with the win and Old Dominion falls to 15-6 and 1-3 in C-USA. First pitch on Saturday is set for 2 p.m.