HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A trio of Southern Miss fifth-inning errors helped Missouri State score a pair runs as the visiting Bears went on to defeat Southern Miss 5-1 here Saturday evening at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field in the second day of the USM Invitational.
The Golden Eagles (4-2) had a 10-game home winning streak snapped dating back to last season, while the Bears improved to 4-1. Earlier in the day, Eastern Illinois defeated Alcorn State 2-0.
After MSU took an early 1-0 lead on a Koby Peebles run-scoring single in the fourth, Travis McComack added to the visitors lead with a leadoff single which was followed by a pair of Jake Drehoff wild pitches and an errant pickoff attempt at second base. The second wild pitch allowed the run to score to give MSU the 2-0 advantage.
Eric Cheray, who got on via a walk, went to second on sacrifice bunt that the Eagles misplayed and then to third on a single eventually scoring later on the play when third baseman Bradley Roney's throw went wide of second to force the back runner which made it possible for Cheray to score.
"That's the second game where one inning has really just controlled us," said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry, whose team made two errors in a five-run fifth at Alabama on Tuesday. "And the shame of it is it was self-inflicted. It wasn't really pressure on their part, we just beat ourselves in those innings."
The Bears also got a great start from All-American pitcher Nick Petree (1-0) who allowed a run on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings to earn the victory. The Golden Eagles scored their lone on a groundout by Blake Brown with runners at second and third, but Southern Miss stranded a pair of runners in both the sixth and seventh frames.
Petree, along with Grant Gordon, who earned his first save of the year by fanning one and allowing a hit, limited the Golden Eagles' offense during the evening.
"We just couldn't get anything going offensively," said Berry. "Their guy (Nick Petree) did a great job. He's good for a reason and you could tell."
Drehoff allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings to suffer the loss and fall to 0-1. He was relieved by Cameron Giannini who tossed a career-best four innings of relief and fanned a career-high seven.
The Bears added two more runs in the ninth on a RBI single from Cheray and a run-scoring double to rightfield by Tate Matheny.
The schedule for the final day of the tournament includes Eastern Illinois and Missouri State playing at 11 a.m., while the Golden Eagles entertain Alcorn State (0-8) at 3 p.m.