HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss gave up season highs for runs and hits in dropping a 13-1 decision Friday night to Middle Tennessee in a Conference USA series opener at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles (17-14 overall, 6-4 in C-USA) gave up 17 hits as both Austin Bryant and Jake Ellison led the way with three hits each for the Blue Raiders. Bryant, along with Dustin Delgado, Jake Ingold and Kevin Dupree, each knocked in two runs apiece.
"They didn't mis-hit too many balls," said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry. "One thing was we really never pitched down in the zone. They're very aggressive hitters that are hunting for that. And when they get it, they're not taking it. We didn't make enough of an adjustment to offset what they were doing (at the plate)."
MT (14-15, 8-5) scored in four different innings, plating two runs in the third, five more in the fifth, two in the sixth and four in the eighth. The Golden Eagles tallied their only run of the night on a run-scoring single by Michael Gilbert in the bottom of the eighth.
The Blue Raiders chased Southern Miss starter Christian Talley from the game in the fifth after he allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout to suffer the loss and fall to 2-2 Talley started the game strong by retiring the first six batters he faced, but gave up four singles in a row to start the third inning and he was unable to recover.
Blue Raider starter Zac Curtis went the distance for MT allowing nine hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts to improve to 4-1 on the campaign.
Nick Dawson led the Golden Eagles with two of their nine hits.
The two teams now will focus on finishing the series Saturday with an 11 a.m., doubleheader. Southern Miss athletic officials altered the schedule to try and beat the expected bad weather that is supposed to hit the Pine Belt region at some point on Saturday and into Sunday.
For Berry, his team has to let this game escape from their memory and get ready for an early start on Saturday.
"We've got to get rid of this one because in 14 hours, we're back out here with a chance to win the series," said Berry. "There is nothing we can do with this game but learn from it and take it as a bit of motivation to come out and be ready to play (today)."