USM splits midweek series with Lafayette

By CAMAL PETRO,

HATTIESBURG – A day after Southern Miss used its fourth walk-off of the season to beat the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, the Golden Eagles couldn’t find anymore Pete Taylor magic in Game 2 of the two-game midweek series.

Lafayette put crooked numbers on the board in two early innings, then held on for the 7-4 win Wednesday night.  The Golden Eagles are now 20-8 overall heading into a Conference USA series with Western Kentucky.

“I think what we do tonight is take what we didn’t do well and we try to understand what we have to do to turn that into a positive and win from it by not doing it again,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “Tonight, we didn’t play well from any aspect of the game.”

A bright spot on the night was relief pitcher Keller Bradford’s performance. He came into the game in the fourth inning, inheriting the bases loaded. After allowing a walk to give Lafayette a 4-1 lead, he pitched the next four innings with little hiccups. Bradford finished the night by allowing three hits and one unearned run while striking out four and issuing just one walk.

It was a good sight for Berry, but he still wants to see more consistency from his bullpen.

“We just have to piece it together,” he said. “We have guys coming out of the ‘pen and we just have to get them to be consistent. I think that’s the biggest thing. We have to figure out who those guys are, and they have to figure out who they are, to be consistent.”

Offensively, Southern Miss left eight runners on base and was 3-for-13 with runners on base. With runners in scoring position, USM was 2-for-7. Fred Franklin paced the offense with two hits and an RBI and Luke Reynolds, Hunter Slater, Bryant Bowen and LeeMarcus Boyd also picked up hits.

Southern Miss will look to get back on track with a three-game conference series at home this weekend. The Golden Eagles are 7-0 following a loss, too.

“I don’t know. I just take it one game at a time,” Berry said about winning every game following a loss, honestly. I know the most important game on the schedule is Friday night against Western Kentucky. What we’ve done now for 28 (games) prior really plays nothing into that one.”

Southern Miss hosts WKU for a three-game conference series this weekend. Game 1 is set for a 6 p.m. start Friday, Game 2 is Saturday at 2 p.m. and Game 3 is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch Sunday.