BATON ROUGE– Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Matthew Guidry tied the ball game with a grand slam. Despite tying the game 4-4, Southern Miss could not put together the complete game it needed to stage a comeback in the 8-4 loss to LSU.
“Tough baseball game tonight in a really good environment,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “Felt like that defense and pitching kept us in there for the first half of the game. If you look that early on there were opportunities [and] the double play kept us in the game. Walker [Powell] pitched a really nice game and gave our offense a chance.”
Although Southern Miss’ defense put together arguably it’s the strongest outing of the season after turning four double plays, the Golden Eagles pitching fell short in crucial situations having given up 13 hits to the Tigers.
Three early double plays by Southern Miss’ defense helped starting pitcher Walker Powell get out of early situations. Aside from a solo home run in the second inning which gave LSU a 1-0 lead, the double plays helped Powell spread out six of the Tigers hits.
In the sixth inning, Powell gave up a leadoff double with a ground out advancing the runner to third base which led to him being pulled.
“I felt good,” Powell said. “It was hot out there [and] obviously the fans were loud. This team is used to playing in that. I got a little tired there in the second, third inning. [I got] a little dehydrated, but not severely. For the most part, I felt good. It just didn’t come out the way we wanted it to.”
In 5.1 innings pitched, Powell allowed two runs off seven hits, walked one batter and struck out two.
The Tigers capitalized on the pitching change and scored three runs in the frame. Sean Tweedy stepped in relief and in his first at-bat Tweedy hit a batter and then gave up a sac fly. Following that LSU’s Zach Watson hit a two-out, two-run home run that gave LSU the 4-0 lead.
Aside from Guidry’s one swing of the bat, Southern Miss’ offense did not fare much better as the Golden Eagles totaled five hits while leaving nine runners on base.
“Matt [Guidry] put a good swing on a two-strike swing to leave the yard and tie the game up,” Berry said. “We didn’t get the shutdown inning after that. We didn’t recover and didn’t do enough to keep the momentum on our side and LSU didn’t let the momentum get away from them very long.”
LSU responded quickly after Guidry’s at-bat. The Tigers scored three runs in the eighth inning with back-to-back RBI singles off reliever Hunter Stanley. The Tigers added one more insurance run in the ninth inning after Brant Blaylock threw a wild pitch.
In total, LSU’s pitching walked or hit six Southern Miss batters. LSU’s starting pitcher Cole Henry kept Southern Miss in check for the first five innings. Henry struck out six batters, walked three and gave up just two hits.
Southern Miss then saw two more hard-throwing pitchers between Todd Peterson and Zach Hess.
“When you see three power arms with Henry, Peterson and Hess it was like a new guy came in with recharged batteries sitting at 95-97 mph,” Berry said. “We had a difficult time catching up with it.”
Hess recorded the win and in three innings allowed one run on two hits and struck out four while walking one batter.
Southern Miss will rematch Arizona State at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The winner of that game will play LSU on the same day scheduled at 8 p.m.