BOCA RATON, Fla. - Southern Miss rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to defeat Florida Atlantic 5-2 in Conference USA action here Saturday afternoon at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
The Golden Eagles (15-12 overall, 6-2 C-USA) won for the fourth consecutive game and eighth time in the last 10 contests, winning their third-straight league series to open conference play. Southern Miss vies for its first three-game league sweep of 2014, Sunday, in an 11 a.m., CT contest against the Owls.
Southern Miss recorded 12 hits in the contest, including two apiece from Connor Barron, Michael Sterling, Tim Lynch and Matt Durst.
The Golden Eagles found themselves down 2-1 in the sixth, before taking the lead for good. The visitors got a leadoff walk to Bradley Roney ending Owl starter Jeremy Strawn's day. Strawn finished with a couple of runs surrendered on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts over five-plus innings.
Andrew Archer then entered the game on the mound and Austin Roussel put down a sacrifice bunt that the relief pitcher threw wildly at first to put two runners on base. After a sacrifice bunt by Nick Dawson to move the runners to second and third, pinch hitter Breck Kline singled up the middle to tie the score at 2-2. It was Kline's fifth pinch-hit in five at bats this spring.
Sterling and Lynch followed with run-scoring singles to give Southern Miss a 4-2 advantage. USM added its final run in the eighth on a passed ball that allowed Roussel to score.
It was the home squad, though, that took an early advantage in the second with a run on a single from CJ Chatham.
The Golden Eagles tied the score in the third by manufacturing its first tally of the contest. Barron led off the inning with a double, the only extra-base hit of the contest, and then went to third on a groundout. Tim Lynch then added a groundout to second of his own to knock in Barron to tie the game.
The game remained tied until the fifth when FAU took its final lead of the contest on a RBI single from Brendon Sanger.
Both Chatham and Sanger each led the Owls (14-12, 3-8) with two hits each.
Conor Fisk (2-1) threw six solid innings for the Golden Eagles, allowing a pair of runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts to earn the victory. Jake Winston threw the final 2 2/3 innings to earn his first career save. Winston gave up just one hit and fanned one in his outing.