Southern Miss drops two to Gonzaga Saturday

By FROM SOUTHERN MISS,

HATTIESBURG – The Southern Miss Golden Eagles dropped their fourth and fifth straight games Saturday against Gonzaga.

Gonzaga right-hander Casey Legumina allowed two runs on three hits over seven innings in the opener and the Bulldogs score four times in the 10th in the nightcap, sweeping No. 23 Southern Miss 4-2 and 10-8 Saturday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park.

Southern Miss, which had scored three runs or less in each of its previous five games, managed its only runs on a two-run home run by Matt Wallner in the sixth inning. The homer was the 37th of Wallner’s career, moving him into 10th by himself on the Golden Eagle career charts.

By then, Gonzaga (4-6) had built a 3-0 lead against the first five of the seven pitchers the Golden Eagles used.

Starter Stevie Powers (1-2) faced two batters, walked one and took the loss, removed from the game after the second hitter because of an injury.

Gonzaga got an RBI-single from cleanup hitter Ryan Sullivan and a sacrifice fly from right fielder Troy Johnston for a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

The Zags added a third run in the sixth inning on a sharp, hit-and-run that left runners on first and third base. Second baseman Carson Breshears then dropped down a nicely-placed bunt that scored left fielder Isaac Barrera for a 3-0 lead.

Wallner’s second home run of the season, a blast over the corner of the big black wall in center, got Southern Miss back within a run, but the Golden Eagles could get no closer and the Bulldogs added a run in the eighth inning on a single by third baseman Ernie Yake that scored designated hitter Mason Marenco.

Legumina (1-0) lived up to the 1.50 ERA he carried into the game, striking out seven while walking two. The Golden Eagles struck out 11 times in Saturday’s first game, giving Southern Miss 56 strikeouts in the past five games.

Alek Jacob went the final two innings, allowing two hits, walking two and striking out four. Southern Miss had two base runners on in each of the eighth and ninth innings with an out or less and could not get a run as Jacob picked up his first save.

Southern Miss center fielder Fred Franklin had two singles. Marenco went 4-for-4 with a run and RBI. Catcher Austin Pinorini, center fielder Guthrie Morrison and Sullivan had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.

In the nightcap, for a third consecutive game, Southern Miss’ starting pitcher did not see the third inning.

Mason Srickland got the starting nod in favor of Walker Powell, who came up Monday with some tenderness in his bicep, Berry said.

After working a scoreless first, Strickland allowed four consecutive hits - a pair singles sandwiching a pair of doubles - as the Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead.

Left-hander Adam Jackson came in and held the fort, pitching 4 2/3 innings and allowing USM a chance to get back in the game.

The Golden Eagles cut its deficit to 3-1 in the second inning on a run-scoring single by Danny Lynch and then made it 3-2 in the third on Hunter Slater’s RBI-single.

Slater homered to lead off the fifth inning and his second home run of the year tied the game 3-3. But USM stranded Fred Franklin at third base to miss a chance to go ahead.

Gonzaga the started a pattern that played out over the next few innings, taking a lead in the top of the inning , only to see USM rally to tie in the bottom of the inning.

Sullivan hit his fifth home run of the year in sixth inning and USM second baseman Matthew Guidry threw away a ball at first base to allow a second run to score as the Bulldogs took a 5-3 lead.

 But USM answered on Wallner’s run-scoring fielder’s choice and Slater’s sacrifice fly to tie the game 5-5.

An RBI-single by Gonzaga’s Pinorni made it 6-5 in the top of the seventh, but USM tied it 6-6 in the bottom of the inning on Cole Donladson’s double.

 Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth innings, though Gonzaga had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning ruined by a double play and USM had a runner reach second base in the bottom of the inning before the chance passed.

In the 10th inning, Gonzaga took advantage of three walks, two hits and a hit-by-pitch to put up four runs for a 10-6 lead.

USM got two back in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring single by Wallner and RBI-double by Erick Hoard but could not prevent its third consecutive home loss.

 Billy Dimlow (1-1), the fifth of six Gonzaga pitchers, got the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit in 1 2/3 innings. He walked one, struck out one. Jacob, who allowed a hit in 2/3 of an inning, picked up his second save in about a five-hour stretch.

Reliever Ryan Och (0-1), the fourth of USM’s five pitchers, took the loss. He allowed four runs on a hit in 1 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out one.

Hoard led USM at the plate, with three hits and a walk. He scored a run and drove in another.

Slater finished with two hits and three RBIs. Leadoff hitter Gabe Montenegro doubled, walked three times and scored three runs. Lynch had two hits for his first multi-hit game as a Golden Eagle and Wallner drove in two runs.

Gonzaga got four hits from Guthrie Morrison, who hit two doubles and two singles and scored three runs.

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