For the third day in a row, Connecticut got the jump on Southern Miss taking a 7-0 lead heading into the sixth inning. While the Golden Eagles managed to battle back, the deficit was too much to overcome as Southern Miss fail to sweep UCONN with a 10-7 loss on Sunday.
“I told (the team) I was disappointed like I knew they were,” Southern Miss coach Scotty Berry said. “We had opportunities to beat a really sound club three times. With coming up short today, I was still proud of them to win the series being a young club and really grinding out, especially Friday night and coming from behind and yesterday and come from behind as well.”
Like the previous two games, the Huskies knocked the Golden Eagles’ starting pitcher. This time Walker Powell, who made his debut for the season, fell victim as he allowed six runs off six hits.
“I think Walker had an average start for him, but that was his first start out there,” Berry said. “Overall, I think he left a couple of pitches up, maybe on the backside home run, and then a guy hit a backside double. Other than that, I thought he was okay. You have to give credit to UCONN. They are a tough team and are going to be a good club. They are projected to win the Big East, and I think they will.”
In the fourth inning, UCONN got on the board with a 2-run home run. Then in the fifth, the Huskies plated five more runs from a throwing error and a 3-run home run. UCONN then capped off the early lead with an RBI single to take the 7-0 lead.
“I put a good swing on it,” Dickerson said. “I knew that once it got into the wind that it was going to go. Once I get back into the dugout, everybody was saying, ‘We are not out of this.’”
“The lead definitely (took the moment) away from me a little bit. It was definitely special, and I will always remember it. I wish it was a different outcome.”
Berry gave credit to UCONN’s starting pitcher Austin Peterson as he managed to hold the Golden Eagles to reaching base twice on a walk and a bunt.
“Today, we just couldn’t get off the blocks like we wanted to do with their guy Peterson,” Berry said. “He had good stuff and was mixing it in. He was jamming our lefties in their pretty hard. He had a good changeup and made that fastball inside a little bit better. We competed pretty good all weekend.”
However, the Golden Eagles bats did find life as shortstop Dustin Dickerson got Southern Miss on the board with his first career home run to narrow the deficit 7-1.
The windy day helped the Golden Eagles’ offense in the seventh inning as Charlie Fischer hit a solo home run and Reece Ewing hit a 2-run home run. Dickerson then added a run from an RBI sac fly to cut the deficit to 7-5. Despite the rally, Southern Miss only had five hits on the day.
“I want to hit as bad as anybody, but right now, it’s just not coming,” Berry said. “We have got to continue to develop that plan and trust our plan. When you look at everything, you are playing Division I baseball and starting five sophomores, three freshmen and one junior. You are going to go through some growing pains. For a few years back, we have had older guys in there and experienced guys. We are now on the other end of that timetable.
“Right now, we are still just kind of searching I feel like. We had some big hits today. Charlie gave us a big home run, Ewing did as well and Dickerson, but there were other opportunities. A few that we missed on the weekend. We have got to do a better job of getting those runs in.”
Unlike the previous two games, UCONN answered with three more runs. The Huskies loaded the bases with a single and then two back-to-back bunts that loaded the bases. Reliever Tanner Hall then gave up a two-run RBI single. Ryan Och finished the inning, but not before the Huskies added another run from a sac fly to stay head 10-5. In total, USM gave up 12 hits and also made three errors in the loss.
Southern Miss plated two more runs from a fielding error by UCONN in the bottom of the eighth, but the Golden Eagles failed to find more momentum in the ninth inning.
“Today was a very sloppy game with the fact that we had three errors, which to me is uncharacteristic of us,” Berry said. “All three were throwing errors. It had nothing to do with fielding. We have to do a better job of not giving extra outs to the opposition. They took advantage of that.”