Fischer hits walk-off for 5-4 extra innings winBy ANDREW ABADIE,
Facing an 0-2 count and with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, Charlie Fischer delivered the final blow against Central Arkansas with an RBI single, which helped Southern Miss come away with a 5-4 win on Saturday.
“He’s come up with some big hits for us this spring,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “There’s really no other guy I want up in that situation right there. Right now, he is seeing it and hitting it as good as anybody. I’m real proud of him and what he’s been able to contribute this spring.”
Fischer’s game-winner helped Southern Miss even the series against the Bears and is the 16th walk-off in Pete Taylor Park since 2017.
“It’s fun baseball,” Fischer said. “Obviously, you don’t want to win like that every game but when we can, it’s fun.”
The Golden Eagles took a 2-0 lead with an RBI single in the first inning and a solo home run by Will McGillis in the fourth inning.
Starting pitcher Walker Powell gave up a two-run home that tied the game for Central Arkansas in the bottom of the fourth inning. However, in seven innings, Powell struck out four, walked one batter and allowed two runs off three hits. Notably, according to Berry, the pitching staff was without Drew Boyd, Matt Adams and Sean Tweedy due to flu.
“Walker did what Walker normally does,” Berry said. “He scattered three hits and struck out four, but the kid put a good swing on it to tie it up 2-2. But Walker just continued to get us deep into the game, and that’s what was key. We are running a little bit thin there, so for him to get deep was crucial for us.”
The Golden Eagles retook the lead and scored a pair of runs in the fifth and eighth inning to go up 4-2.
However, freshman relief pitcher Isaiah Rhodes fell into trouble after completing a clean inning.
Rhodes gave up a single and a double to start the ninth inning before getting pulled. Closer Hunter Stanley gave up back-to-back RBI singles, which tied the game but managed to save the inning by striking out the side.
Stanley made quick work of Central Arkansas in the 10th inning and struck out four batters in his outing.
In the 10th inning, McGillis hit a two-out single that set up Fischer’s game-winning hit.
In his first game back since his hamstring injury against Murray State, McGillis finished the game 3-for-3 with an RBI. Fischer finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI.
“Will’s impact was felt immediately,” Berry said. “Obviously, he hit a home run, he executed a hit and run there early in his third at-bat and his last at-bat got us started there with a base hit. I’m real proud of him. He’s not 100 percent, but he is gutting it out and playing hard. He wants to contribute, and we are glad to have him back in the lineup.”
Sunday’s rubber match is set for 1 p.m.
“We kind of dug ourselves in that one, and Central Arkansas did a great job of tying it up,” Berry said. “They are competitive, like anybody else. But our guys are young, and we are learning on the job as we go and, hopefully, this game will pay off for us in the long run on how you play the game and finish the game. I’m real proud of how this young group did today.”
Photo courtesy of Southern Miss athletics.