Injury plagued Southern Miss holds off Murray State, 3-2By ANDREW ABADIE,
For the second day in a row, pitching kept Southern Miss alive.
The injury-filled Golden Eagles rode behind the arms of Walker Powell and Hunter Stanley to secure a 3-2 win over Murray State on Saturday.
In the game, Gabe Montenegro suffered a hand injury after being hit by a pitch. In addition, Southern Miss was also without Austin Izzio and Will McGillis.
“Guys are going to have step up,” Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said. “We have three guys down, but that gives other guys an opportunity. The problem is that we don’t have a lot of depth. We just don’t have numbers there. We just have to try and stay healthy and figure out how to win with the personnel that we have.”
According to Berry, Izzio was expected to be a starter on Friday but has no timetable to return due to the possibility of a hernia. McGillis, who is expected to make a quick return, sat out after suffering a hamstring injury on Friday. Montenegro was planned to receive a MRI after Saturday's game.
“It’s not ideal by any means,” team captain Matthew Guidry said. “You hate to see guys like Will, Gabe, or anybody go down. They are always a good at-bats and in the field, but they are even better teammates. It hurts, but they are doing everything they can in the dugout.”
At the start of the game, Southern Miss scored its first run of the day off a throwing error to take an early 1-0 lead. The Golden Eagles added a run in the sixth inning from Reed Trimble on an RBI sac fly that scored Brant Blaylock for the second time.
On the mound, Powell shutout the Racers and in seven innings struck out three batters while only giving up six hits.
“I felt good,” Powell said. “Physically body felt good, arm felt good, it’s just good to get that first one out of the way. I felt like with my motion, I was a little out of synch for the first few innings, but I got into a rhythm.
In the eighth inning, Charlie Fischer hit a single that helped drive in Guidry. Guidry beat the tag at home plate, which later proved to be crucial in Southern Miss’ win.
Stanley took the game over on the mound and posted a scoreless eighth inning. In the top of the ninth, Stanley allowed a two-run home run that cut the USM lead to 3-2 but managed to seal the win as well as record the save.
Southern Miss left eight runners on base with Fischer leading the bats by finishing 3-for-4 at the plate.
“When you look at the outcome of the game, [Fischer’s hit] proved to be really, really big,” Berry said. “Right now, we are just trying to search as a team to find a way to win. We are doing it with quality pitching on the mound that’s throwing up a lot of zeros. Offensively we are still trying to work to score runs. We are going to have to cut out the strikeouts, particularly the strikeouts looking. We are going to have to pressure that defense a little bit more. We saw us do that in the first and second inning.”
First pitch for Sunday’s game against Murray State is set for 1 p.m.