It was another impressive outing for Southern Miss’ starting pitcher Walker Powell as he helped the Golden Eagles staff combine to throw a shutout in the 5-0 win over Missouri State on Saturday.
The COVID-senior threw 107 pitches, 80 of which were for strikes, in eight shutout innings. After his outing, Powell has now thrown 23 straight scoreless innings, which is seven short of the school record that Nick Sandlin set in 2018.
“He pitched terrific and seemed to have everything working today,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “I thought that his tempo, poise, everything really reflected in the way that we played defensively.
“Walker pitched to his strength and was really filling up the zone. He utilized the cutter and the changeup. I couldn’t be more proud of him and the consistency that he gives us every time he seems to go out there.”
Powell struck out six batters, walked one, gave up three hits and improved his record 3-1. He also stranded three Missouri State runners and allowed just one runner to reach second base.
“I felt good for the most part,” Powell said. “I would say, I was at 100% against (Louisiana-Lafayette) last week, and I’d say I was at 95% this week. The stuff felt good, but obviously, I wanted to be a little bit sharper. I wanted my changeup to have a little bit more depth and be a little bit harder. I wanted my slider to also be just a little bit harder. It was a good start for sure. I’m not trying to act like it wasn’t, but I’m always trying to improve and see where I can be better.”
Tanner Hall closed the game with ease in the ninth inning as he recorded one strikeout and retired Missouri State in order.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles struggled at the plate despite drawing seven walks and coming away with seven hits as Southern Miss left 11 runners on base and struck eight times.
However, in the fourth inning, Southern Miss caught a break as Missouri State’s pitching began to struggle. After Reed Trimble reached second base with one out, the Bears walked four straight batters, allowing Southern Miss to take a 2-0 lead before the inning ended.
The momentum stayed with the Golden Eagles in the sixth inning, with Gabe Montenegro hitting a single and Trimble getting hit by a pitch with one out. Designated hitter Charlie Fischer, who notably walked twice on the day and leads the team with 18 walks, capitalized on the opportunity with a two-run RBI double and extended the lead 4-0.
“I think earlier in the year, we were pressing a little bit, and I say that for everybody,” Fischer said. “Day by day, I think we are improving and starting to have better at-bats. The (Missouri State pitcher) that came in he was throwing a lot of sliders and a lot of off-speed, and he wasn’t landing it. He came with the fastball, and I was able to find a gap and get these guys going.”
The Golden Eagles added insurance in the seventh inning from Andrew Stanley, who hit an RBI sac fly.
“Where we didn’t get it by the swing of the bat, we did it with patience at the plate and making sure that (Missouri State) could command the zone, and they didn’t,” Berry said. “We did somethings well. Right now, the way (Hunter) Stanley and Walker Powell have pitched back-to-back and the way our bullpen has performed. It’s pretty tough to come back from any kind of run deficit.”
First pitch for Sunday is set for 12 p.m.