Southern Miss’ 1-0 Saturday win over Louisiana-Lafayette was much different compared to Friday. Instead of the hitting being the difference, it was the Golden Eagles’ starting pitcher Walker Powell.
“He was spectacular,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “I think he continued to get stronger as the game got deeper. He really did. (Louisiana-Lafayette) had no answer for him. He was able to utilize three pitches. He plused and minused his pitches and just kept them off balance.
“The one thing I don’t want to go unnoticed with this is (Pitching coach Christian) Ostrander’s ability to call the game for him. That was the message to the team. It’s one thing to know what gets people out. It’s another thing for that pitcher to go out and execute. That’s exactly what Walker did.”
The lone run of the day came in the bottom of the first as Christopher Sargent drove in a run on an RBI double. Powell then dueled Louisiana-Lafayette’s pitching staff for eight innings.
The key factor in Powell’s success day was his ability to stay efficient as he kept his pitch count low and threw 92 pitches in eight innings. Powell retired the Ragin Cajuns in order for five of the eight innings he pitched and in total faced three batters above the minimum.
Powell’s only bumps of the day occurred with a two-out single in the fourth and a two-out double in the eighth. The biggest trouble Powell faced occurred in the eighth inning. After giving up a one-out single, the UL baserunner stole second. However, Powell shut down the threat with two back-to-back strikeouts.
For Louisiana-Lafayette, starting pitcher Spencer Arrighetti threw 31 pitches in the first inning after allowing the RBI double. Arrighetti managed to go stride for stride with Powell after facing multiple jams in his 4.2 innings pitched, as he stranded six of the Golden Eagles’ eight runners left on base for the day.
Arrighetti struck out seven batters, walked four, and allowed the one run off four hits. UL made a call to the bullpen four times, but Ragin Cajun relievers combined to give up one hit for the rest of the game.
“Understand that the arm (Arrighetti) that we beat had phenomenal numbers even though he is pitching on Saturday,” Berry said. “We were able to run his pitch count up and get him out of there in 4 2/3 innings. He had 31 pitches after the first inning and 68 after the fourth inning. He had 92 when he left the game, so hats off to our games being able to be patient and drawing four walks and having them get into the bullpen again.”
Powell struck out 10 batters, allowed zero walks and gave up just three hits. Garrett Ramsey closed the game in the ninth inning by inducing a double play and striking out the game’s final batter to seal the win.
“I like (Powell’s) maturity because we missed on at least three opportunities to extend the lead,” Berry said. “To go back out there and know that every pitch could be the difference in the game being tied or remain the same. The impressive thing with Walker was his ability to focus and control what he was supposed to do, and that was to go out hang zeros. That’s what he did for eight innings.”
Sunday’s first pitch is set for 2 p.m.