A breakdown of Southern Miss’ 13-4 Friday night win over Louisiana-Lafayette
Southern Miss did everything right on Friday night against Louisiana-Lafayette as the Golden Eagles opened the weekend series with a 13-4 win.
The night did not lack its fair share of drama, and at the same time, it showed promise for Southern Miss’ offense after having a slow start to the year.
A Heated Second Inning
Southern Miss jumped out ahead of the Ragin Cajuns by the end of the first inning. A pair of errors scored Louisiana-Lafayette’s first run of the game. The Golden Eagles quickly answered with an RBI double from Charlie Fischer and an RBI single from Reece Ewing to take a 2-1 lead.
Things then got heated between the Southern Miss dugout and UL starting pitcher Hayden Durke, who threw as hard as 96 miles per hour.
Southern Miss loaded the bases with two outs. After Durke walked in a run, Christopher Sargent hit a grand slam with Ewing following with a solo home run.
“I took two sliders down, then he gave me a fastball that I just missed,” Sargent said. “I knew he was going to come back with a slider down. I got it to a 2-2 count, and I knew a fastball was coming, so I geared up for it and I hit it dead center.”
However, after giving up the back-to-back big hits, Durke hit Will McGillis in the helmet, which led to McGillis and the Golden Eagle dugout exchanging words.
DJ Lynch then followed with a two-run home run, but after hitting the long ball, Lynch flipped his bat, which continued the tense moment before the umpires kept tension down.
“They were doing a little talking and they hit our batter,” Sargent said. “But we got in the dugout and said, ‘Look, we don’t play like that. Let them do all the talking and let’s just play baseball.’”
The Golden Eagles’ big inning broke the game open by scoring eight runs and extending the lead 10-1.
Bats Getting Hot?
Southern Miss’ 13 hits were the most the Golden Eagles have pulled together this season after only two other games in which the Golden Eagles had less than eight hits.
Southern Miss is currently on a three-game streak of totaling 10 or more hits. In addition, the Golden Eagles scored 12 of its 13 runs with two outs.
“That’s three straight games now that we’ve had double-digit hits,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “That’s something we’ve been lacking, putting pressure on the opposition. We did take advantage of some walks.
“I liked the way we finished up at Jacksonville State on Saturday and Sunday. I thought we competed up there really well, and tonight against a good Louisiana team.”
After the Golden Eagles’ second inning, the offense continued to tack on more runs. After Ewing drew a walk to score another run in the third, Will McGillis delivered a two-run double in the seven-inning.
Southern Miss forced Louisiana-Lafayette to go through five different pitchers.
“This is a Friday night and we needed to get into their bullpen just like they needed to get into ours,” Berry said. “(Hunter) Stanley didn’t let them get in there and our offense was able to get into their (bullpen) and get five guys into the game with two games yet to be played.”
Stanley Gets The Job Done
Southern Miss starting pitcher Hunter Stanley pulled together another consistent Friday night for the Golden Eagles, with his seven innings being the most in his career.
Stanley’s most notable stat was in 90 pitches thrown. He threw 65 for strikes and had his fastball topping out at 94 mph. In his final line, he struck out eight batters, walked one and allowed two earned runs off five hits.
“(I was throwing) was mainly fastballs and sliders, and I mixed in a couple of change-ups,” Stanley said. “When I was getting a lot of swings and misses, it was with the change-up.”
Despite the consistent outing, Stanley gave up two solo home runs in the fourth inning as he has now given up seven home runs. Part of the issue for Stanley was the big inning in the second, which threw him off his rhythm early on.
“I throw a lot of strikes and that’s the scouting report on me,” Stanley said. “I made a couple of mistakes and that’s a good hitting club up over there. They were getting their swings off early in the count.
“You just take it pitch by pitch. You can’t let one or two swings make you have a bad outing. I still feel like I competed really well.”
Roller Coaster On Defense
While Southern Miss had its best outing of the season in the batter’s box, the Golden Eagles had committed four errors in the field.
In the top of the first inning, shortstop Dustin Dickerson made a throwing error to the first base to allow the leadoff runner to reach base. Catcher Andrew Stanley then attempted to throw the runner out, which got past second base. The baserunner safely reached third base after center fielder Reed Trimble committed a throwing error, which later allowed the run to score.
Stanley also committed a throwing in the sixth inning. The last error was committed by Lynch, which later allowed for UL to score its final run of the night.
First pitch for Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m.