Southern Miss closer Garrett Ramsey did it again. For the second day in a row, Ramsey halted Connecticut’s late effort to clinch the series for the Golden Eagles with a 7-6 win.
“Right after the game yesterday, they told me to be ready for tomorrow,” Ramsey said. “We had been preparing for going back-to-back days in the fall, and throughout the early spring, so I was ready for it. My arm was ready. I told the coach to let me have the ball, and I went out there and did it again.”
Instead of using the slider, Ramsey relied primarily on his changeup, which helped the Golden Eagles get out of a bases-loaded situation in the top of the eighth inning. Ramsey struck out three batters and kept UCONN from reaching base.
“I don’t know if we planned for him (go back out), but we knew he was there to go if we needed to,” Southern Miss coach Scotty Berry said. “Our plan was to use some other guys and not get to him. The game got to the point where we had to go to Ramsey, and once again, he came out and picked up a second save.”
Like Friday’s game, UCONN’s offense pulled together early success against Southern Miss’ starting pitcher again, this time it was Ben Ethridge who fell victim as he gave up nine hits in his three innings of work. In the first inning, Ethridge gave up an RBI single and then another RBI single and an RBI double in the third to give the Huskies a 3-0 lead.
“I thought he pounded the zone,” Berry said. “It wasn’t like he wasn’t throwing strikes on a day like today with the wind kind of blowing out. Of course, a home run didn’t get him like it did (Hunter) Stanley yesterday. I think Ben probably missed over the plate a little bit more than he would like. Some of those hits that UCONN had were not really squared up. They just found their way in between us. He’ll get better.”
However, in the bottom of the third inning, Christopher Sargent tied the game up with his first home run of the season as he delivered a 3-run homer.
“It was the first pitch, and I was sitting soft because they had been throwing hard all day,” Sargent said. “I (thought) they had to eventually come soft. They came soft with a slider down the middle, and I hit it.
“My confidence had been down a little bit. I was striking out too much, not like normal. I just wanted to have fun today, and I had a really good day.”
Sargent’s home run proved even more critical after Reed Trimble was pulled from the lineup after injuring his shoulder.
“That was from yesterday when he dove for that ball, and he jammed that shoulder,” Berry said. “He has a history with that shoulder of dislocating. He kind of banged that thing up. He played through it last night. It was a little bit sore today, and he tried to get through it. There were a couple of swings that aggravated it, so we made the decision to go ahead and get him out of there and put (Billy) Garrity in there. Garrity has been playing good in centerfield.”
The Golden Eagles then jumped ahead in the fourth inning with an RBI double from third baseman Michael Wein. Catcher Andrew Stanley then scored off a throwing error to first base to extend Southern Miss’ lead 5-3.
Sargent then hit his second home run in the seventh inning on a two-run homer to build a 7-3 lead. Sargent finished the day 2-for-5 with five RBI, while Southern Miss totaled eight hits on the day.
After relief pitcher Aubrey Gillentine and Matt Adams kept UCONN off the board for four innings, the pitching staff ran into trouble in the eighth inning. Reliever Tyler Stuart loaded the bases with one. Tyler Lantz then took over but gave up a two-run RBI single and then reloaded the bases again before Ramsey made his appearance to end the threat.