HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Joel Greatting collected three hits and drove in three runs to lead SIUE to a 6-5 non-conference baseball victory over Southern Miss here Friday night at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles (25-22) lost for the second straight time, while SIUE upped its season mark to 15-30. Due to rain expected in the Hattiesburg area late on Saturday, the start time for the middle game of the series has been bumped up two hours to 12 noon. The seven Golden Eagle seniors will be honored prior to the game.
It didn't take long for the Cougars to take the lead as Greatting blasted a two-run homer off of Andrew Pierce in the top of the first. That was the only damage Pierce gave up in a four-inning stint as he was limited in his pitch count in the contest.
"They swung bats very well," said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry. "Their (four)-hole hitter (Greatting) hits one off of Pierce that kind of disrupts the whole rhythm there, and kind of threw us in a funk.
"But, you know, we didn't deserve to win, and they did. They played better. They made the plays. They hit balls. They got the hits, and we didn't."
The Golden Eagles cut into the lead with an RBI single from Isaac Rodriguez, the first of two hits from the senior from Weston, Fla., as he extended his hitting streak to a team season-best 13 games , to cut the gap in the first. Southern Miss then went ahead 3-2 in the third on a RBI double from Rodriguez and a sacrifice fly from Mason Robbins.
After Pierce left the game by giving up two runs on five hits with a pair of strikeouts, Sean Buchholz entered the game to start the fifth. He allowed a hit and two walks before exiting. James McMahon did not fare much better as he gave up a run on three hits over an inning, while allowing all of Buchholz runners to score in the frame to give the visitors a 6-3 advantage.
Buchholz (0-1) was tagged with the loss in the contest.
Southern Miss rallied with two more runs in the eighth as Austin Roussel drove in a run on a bases-loaded hit by pitch and pinch hitter Andrew Furr knocked in a run with a fielder's choice. Rodriguez, though, ended the rally with a strikeout.
SIUE starter Caleb Wilkerson (2-4) picked up the victory by giving up three runs on six hits and four walks with a strikeout. Jake Stauffenberg allowed just one hit over the final 1 2/3 and got two punchouts to garner his first save.
Golden Eagle reliever Cody Livingston threw the final four innings and limited the Cougars to three hits with three strikeouts which gave the home squad a chance to get back into the game down the stretch.