Southern Miss can't keep early lead, fall to South Alabama

By FROM SOUTHERN MISS,

HATTIESBURG – Five first-inning runs, including a grand slam, were not enough Tuesday night for Southern Miss to overcome itself and South Alabama.

The Golden Eagles walked a season-high 11 batters, committed the most errors they have had in a game in five years, twice loaded the bases without scoring a run and gave up the most runs in game this season in a 15-6 loss to the Jaguars.

A loss that snapped the Golden Eagles’ eight game winning streak at Pete Taylor Park while the Jaguars (13-14) were able to snap a five-game losing streak.

Southern Miss (17-9), which lost for the third time in its last four games, took a 5-0 lead in the first inning off starter Jared Proctor.

Bryant Bowen, who had two of Southern Miss’ six hits, connected on the first career grand slam of his career with his fourth home run of the season. Danny Lynch knocked in the other run with a single.

But after going scoreless for two innings against Southern Miss starter Ryan Och, South Alabama scored at least one run in the remaining seven innings.

Ethan Wilson began the comeback with a two-run home run in the third inning. South Alabama made it 5-3 in the fourth on Dakota Dailey’s double in the fourth and then tied it with the only hit in a two-run fifth inning, Felix Aberouette’s two-run double.

Southern Miss loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning, but could not score.

South Alabama scored in the sixth inning on three walks, an error and a wild pitch, before Southern Miss tied the game on Matt Guidry’s double to right center field.

It was the Golden Eagles’ last hurrah.

The Jaguars added two run in the seventh in another rally that featured just one hit, and then piled on seven runs on eight hits in the last two innings.

Southern Miss loaded the bases in the eighth inning with no out and, again, came up with no runs.

“It was just a game of momentum, and they just kept chipping away,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “They score seven of the nine innings and we only score two.

“We had the big inning in the first, but they didn’t go away.”

South Alabama reliever Zach Greene (1-0) allowed just one hit over the final four scoreless innings, walking one and striking out five.

J.C. Keys (1-1), the sixth of Southern Miss’ nine pitchers, took the loss allowing two runs (one earned) on a hit. He walked three.

Southern Miss committed a season-high six errors, the most since a six-error game against East Carolina University to open the 2014 Conference USA Baseball Tournament on May 21.

Dailey, the No. 9 hitter in the Jaguars’ batting order, collected three of USA’s 13 hits and drove in four runs.

Southern Miss will remain home for a weekend Conference USA baseball series, hosting Marshall University beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.