With each game becoming more crucial to stay in the conversation for hosting a regional as well as keeping alive the hope of earning an at-large bit to the NCAA tournament alive, Southern Miss found itself not helping its cause with a 5-3 loss to Southeastern on Wednesday night.
"I'd be lying if there isn't that urgency," Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. "I've been around enough, and I know what the pressure is to be able to achieve those things that everybody is after. It is what it is. You have to be able to have blinders on, and that's what I told the team after the game.
"You have to concentrate on playing the game. You have to earn everything that you get. I think, at times, the immaturity of this team shows up. Tonight, I think that was one of those nights. We have seen it time and time again. Now we have played good baseball at times, we just played three of the most complete games all year at Rice consecutively, but it didn't carry over into tonight."
The Golden Eagles finished the regular season with a 1-5 record in midweek games.
"We have played very, very poorly in the midweek games," Berry said. "The biggest thing with tonight is that we didn't do enough to win a baseball game against a team that had a sense of urgency to come in and beat us. They are trying to build a resume. They brought (urgency) straight to the park."
The night saw a pitching battle between each team's respective pitching staff as the night saw 16 pitching changes. While the Golden Eagle's staff rang up 14 strikeouts, Southern Miss' offense only mustered three hits on the night.
"The thing about those guys you saw tonight is that they haven't logged many innings," Berry said. "They haven't had much time out there. We're they a little rusty, absolutely. We had five walks tonight. We have walked five in; I don't know how long, but we had 14 punch-outs. We did some things well. The problem is that offensively we didn't have any runs to back up what we didn't do on the mound or on the defensive side that limited their runs. We weren't offsetting that with runs of our own."
Despite Southern Miss' overall success on the mound, two wild pitches were key in helping the Lions jump out to an early lead. In the third inning, Matt Adams gave up three straight singles to open the frame. After throwing two back-to-back strikeouts, Adams threw a wild pitch that scored the game's first run. SLU then delivered a two-run to give Southeastern a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Tanner Hall gave up a leadoff double. Hall managed to come up with a strikeout and induce a ground out but threw a wild pitch that scored another run for Southeastern (26-15) and extended the Lions lead to 4-0.
Gabe Montenegro helped Southern Miss (29-15) respond in the third inning with a 3-run home run and cut the lead to 4-3.
However, the Golden Eagles missed on the opportunity to take the lead in the fourth inning after Reed Trimble walked and Charlie Fischer followed with a single to lead the inning off. A wild pitch advanced both into scoring position, but the Golden Eagles struck out in back-to-back at-bats and then lined out to end the inning. Southeastern added a late insurance run in the ninth inning as Ryan Och gave up a solo home run.
"We didn't do the little things offensively that it takes to win baseball games," Berry said. "We didn't execute a couple of pitches that needed to be executed. They picked up some runs on wild pitches. Out of their five runs, two of them were wild pitch runs."
Southern Miss will host Middle Tennessee for its final home series of the regular season. Friday's first pitch is set for 6 p.m.