HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss scored six runs in both the fifth and eighth innings to collect a season-high scoring total in beating UAB, 13-3, here Friday night in a Conference USA series opener at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles maintained their first place lead in C-USA by improving to 22-19 on the season and 11-5 in league play. The squad tallied its season-high 13 hits in a conference game as Chase Fowler tallied three, while Blake Brown and Bradley Roney added two apiece.
UAB starting pitcher Tanner Bryant kept Southern Miss in check through the first four innings, retiring 12 of the first 14 batters he faced.
"I'm very proud," Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. "(UAB starter Tanner) Bryant was tough going into the fifth, and we did a great job making some adjustments.
"Coach (Chad) Caillet (USM's hitting coach) noticed something with him, and we adjusted, and it paid off very well."
With the Blazers (17-26, 3-10) leading 1-0 on a Bryant first-inning RBI single, the Golden Eagles exploded for four-straight singles to start the fifth. The third and fourth singles came from Fowler and Dillon which each drove in a run.
After a couple of walks, the second one to Travis Creel that brought home a run, Isaac Rodriguez knocked in the fourth run with a single. The Blazers then went to the pen and Mason Robbins promptly added another USM run with a walk and Tim Lynch forced the final tally of the inning by grounding into a double play.
UAB cut the gap with two runs in the seventh on a double by Tyler Hamby and relief pitcher Chase Davis, who started the contest in centerfield, added a run-scoring single.
Southern Miss added another run in the seventh on a Fowler groundout before exploding for six more runs in the eighth. The six-run innings are the most by the Golden Eagles this season as they have done it five different times.
After Davis gave up three walks and registered a couple of outs, Brown collected a grand slam to left-center - the first for the Golden Eagles since Marc Bourgeois hit one at East Carolina on Apr. 30, 2011 - before pinch hitters Connor Barron and Nick Dawson each drove in runs with singles.
Jake Drehoff (2-4) threw 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts to earn the victory. Daniel Wineski allowed a hit and fanned two over the final two frames to collect his second save of the campaign.
Bryant fell to 2-6 after giving up six runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout in suffering the loss.
The series will conclude with a doubleheader Saturday. The first game is slated for 1 p.m., while the nightcap will take place at 6:30 p.m., to accommodate Fox Sports Net who is televising the game. Expected bad weather on Sunday prompted the move for the twinbill on Saturday.