HATTIESBURG, Miss. - An errant throw in the bottom of the ninth by Marshall left-fielder Eric Escobedo led to the game's only run in a 1-0 Conference USA series-opening baseball victory for Southern Miss over the Thundering Herd here Friday night at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
In a taut pitchers' duel, the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the ninth.
"(It was a) Well-pitched ballgame by both clubs," Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. "If you're the coach of either team, you've got to feel good about the way your club pitched and played defense.
"Unfortunately, this game's an unforgiving game, and sometimes they end the way this one did."
Chase Fowler, who had two of USM's six hits, collected a one-out single to left in the final frame. After a strikeout, the Golden Eagles went to their bench for left-handed hitter Austin Roussel, who hit a 1-1 Ryan Hopkins offering into short leftfield which shortstop Sergio Leon could not make an over-the-shoulder grab.
Fowler had moved to third on the single and Escobedo picked up the hit threw the ball in to third which was high and got by Hopkins allowing the Golden Eagle catcher to score and give Southern Miss (16-17 overall, 6-4 in C-USA) a season-best, fifth-straight victory.
Jake Drehoff tied a career-high with eight strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings for the Golden Eagles as he scattered seven hits and walked two. Golden Eagle reliever Jay Myrick threw the final 1 1/3 and walked just one to get the victory and improve to 2-0 on the campaign.
The Golden Eagles left 10 runners on base, but a lot of that had to do with solid pitch from Marshall.
After starter Wayland Moore was taken out of the game in the third, Matt Margaritonda threw 4 1/3 scoreless frames and surrendered just two hits and a walk while fanning two in a no decision. Hopkins tossed the final 1 2/3 and allowed an unearned run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts to suffer the loss and fall to 1-2.
Southern Miss also turned four double plays in the contest to give them 46 for the season.
The two teams will complete the series with a 2 p.m., doubleheader Saturday. The twinbill was made necessary as the series finale, which was originally set for Sunday, had to be moved up due to impending bad weather slated for the area for that day.