Southern Miss got back in the win column by riding the arms of its pitching staff to earn a Friday night 2-1 win over Missouri State.
"I thought (tonight) was two good clubs going after one another, obviously pitching and defense played a lot more into it than the offense," Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. "What offense did show up was crucial and important. It was a deciding factor.
"Our pitching has been really good and consistent the whole year. Every time Hunter takes the mound, you know you have a chance to win."
The Golden Eagles' pitching staff with 10 strikeouts and held the Bears to six hits on the night. Starting pitcher Hunter Stanley got the job done for seven innings as he stranded five Missouri State baserunners and struck out seven despite allowing two walks, two hits and hitting a batter. For Stanley, who faced two different innings with runners in scoring position his approach to the game was simple.
"You have to trust your stuff," Stanley said. "That's a big thing (pitching coach Christian Ostrander) preaches to us and having conviction with your pitches. It's really taking it pitch by pitch. You never want to get too big and look at the big picture.
"Credit to our hitters for finding a way to scratch some runs. It doesn't matter how it looks. A win is a win."
However, the most significant stat for Stanley was his pitch count, which was at 115. After stranding runners at first and second base in the first inning, Stanley rolled through Missouri State's lineup as he retired it in order four times. In the seventh inning, a leadoff walk and a one-out single put a runner on third. Luckily, Stanley induced a fly out to end the inning.
(The pitch count is) not something you really think about when you are in the game," Stanley said. "I didn't even know I was at that many pitches. Me and (pitching coach Christian Ostrander) have been talking about it to extend me a little more and get to that 100-pitch count mark. It just so happened with the situation that we really didn't want to bring anybody in that inning. I felt good. I've always been one as I get stronger as I go."
The Golden Eagles' only offense of the night came in the second and fourth innings.
In the second inning, Will McGillis hit a two-out RBI double to score the first run of the game, but McGillis was thrown out at third base to end the inning. In the fourth inning, Christopher Sargent delivered an RBI single to extend the lead 2-0.
"We were pitching good," Sargent said. "I knew if we got another run in and Hammer was throwing really good, I was thinking just thinking hit something in the middle of the field. A sac fly would have done it, but I was thinking up the middle. He gave me a pitch up the middle, and I hit up the middle."
The only other trouble Southern Miss' pitching faced was in the eighth inning.
Reliever Ryan Och gave up a two-out walk and single. Missouri State capitalized on the opportunity with an RBI single before Och closed the inning. Garrett Ramsey closed the game in the ninth inning by striking out the side. Stanley credited both Och and Ramsey for closing the game.
"It's huge when you know you got those guys on the backend that you can rely on in the late innings, especially to keep them off base and scoring," Stanley said. "Ryan and Garrett have done a tremendous job this year. They are only going to get better as they go. They have both been lights out."
First pitch for Saturday's game is set for 2 p.m.