OXFORD – Behind the heroics of relief pitcher Ryan Och, Southern Miss rallied from a 3-run deficit and defeated Florida State 7-4 to advance to the Oxford Regional championship.
Along with Och’s arm, a 12-hit performance by Southern Miss offense along with key home runs from Blake Johnson and Will McGillis helped keep the Golden Eagles’ postseason alive.
Southern Miss will now face in-state rival Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m.
The Seminoles had early success against starting pitcher Drew Boyd as they scored off an RBI single in the first inning.
After Southern Miss tied the game to 1-1 on a fielder’s choice in the third, Florida State then put up three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Boyd gave up a solo home run, which was then followed by two more RBI singles that built the 4-1 lead.
Och then entered the game and shut down Florida State’s offense as he struck out 11 batters and allowed one hit in 4.2 innings.
The long ball helped Southern Miss tie the game, with Johnson narrowing the lead with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. McGillis then hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to tie the game 4-4.
The offensive momentum continued to follow in the eighth inning, with Reece Ewing giving the Golden Eagles the lead with an RBI single. Danny Lynch hit a ball straight to FSU’s pitcher Jack Anderson, who then made a throwing error to first and scored another run.
Finally, in the ninth inning, Christopher Sargent added an insurance run with a two-out RBI single.