HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning highlighted by Joey Archer’s walk-off RBI single to propel the Golden Eagles over No. 7 Rice in front of 3,182 fans at Pete Taylor Park.
“This was a good win for us and we needed it in the worst way,” head coach Corky Palmer said. “Todd McInnis was super again today and I also thought Josh Fields played very well today also. We played a real good baseball game and did every thing we could to get the win so hopefully this will give us some momentum headed into next week.”
Down 4-2 headed into the bottom of the ninth Southern Miss mounted one more rally after being so close all afternoon, stranding nine runners in the game. Josh Fields led off with his third hit of the game, a single up the middle to start the comeback and pinch hitter Michael Ewing drew a walk to put runners on first and second with no one out.
Brian Dozier loaded the bases by drawing a walk from Rice reliever Jordan Rogers and Nick Smith entered the game as a pinch runner for Ewing at second base. Bo Davis drove in Fields from third on a soft rolling infield single between the left side of the Rice infield and Rice shortstop Rick Hague kicked the slow roller just enough to allow Nick Smith to score from third and tie the game.
With Dozier at third and Davis on first Sothern Miss junior first baseman Joey Archer delivered the biggest hit of his Southern Miss career, a walk-off RBI single right back up the middle to score Dozier from third. Archer fell behind 0-2 before ripping the 1-2 pitch to centerfield to win the game.
“I knew they were going to come at me with a breaking ball, that’s what they had done to me all day,” Archer said. “He left the ball up in the zone and I was able to make solid contact and put the ball in the middle of the field. Every hitter wants to be in the position to win the game for your team and I have been dreaming about a hit like that all my life.”
In addition to is game winning hit Archer also delivered a solo home run in the sixth inning for the Golden Eagles second run of the game going back-to-back with Bo Davis who led off the sixth with a solo home run. Davis had two hits on the afternoon with two RBI and a run scored.
Josh Fields tallied three hits and a run scored and Corey Stevens had a multiple hit game with two hits on the afternoon.
Taylor Walker extended his hitting streak to 18 games as he led off the Southern Miss half of the fist with a single up the middle.
Southern Miss (13-9, 1-2 CUSA) starting pitcher Todd McInnis was outstanding for the second time this week, he was the winning pitcher over No.25 Mississippi State on Tuesday. He worked five solid innings allowing only four hits while striking out six, including five of the first nine hitters. He left the game with two runners on base which eventually scored to credit him with two runs in the game.
Cody Schlagel worked 3.2 innings allowing only four hits and two unearned runs while striking out two. Jonathan Johnston and Wade Weathers each faced a batter in the ninth with Weathers getting credit for the win today.
Rice (14-6, 2-1 CUSA) broke the scoreless tie in the top of the sixth as Brock Holt led off with a single and Chad Mozingo walked to end the day for Todd McInnis after his second outstanding start on the week.
Diego Seastruck laid down a bunt but new pitcher Cody Schlagel tried to force the out at third and was unsuccessful to load the bases with no one out. Anthony Rendon delivered a two-RBI single to left field for the games first runs. Rice DH Craig Manuel laid down the second bunt of the inning and Schlagel overthrew first base to allow two unearned runs to score.
Southern Miss answered in the bottom of the sixth as Davis and Archer hit back-to-back solo home runs. Davis led off the inning with his sixth home run of the season, a solo shot to center field to end the day for Rice starter Taylor Wall. Joey Archer greeted new Rice pitcher Mark Hayes and ripped the first pitch over the wall for his third home run of the season to make the score 4-2.
The score remained 4-2 before the Golden Eagles mounted their ninth inning comeback.
Southern Miss returns to action next Tuesday as they host Louisiana Monroe for a midweek contest at Pete Taylor Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.