HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss jumped out to an early lead but had to rally late to beat visiting Troy, 7-6, in non-conference baseball action here Sunday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles (6-6) captured their first series victory of the season as they ended an eight-game homestand in the contest. Southern Miss now travels over its next four games starting Tuesday when they head to Pensacola, Fla., to face Florida in a 6:30 p.m., contest at Bayfront Stadium, the Double A home of the Cincinnati Reds.
Down 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth, Southern Miss produced two runs which started with a pair of singles from pinch hitter Breck Kline to start the frame and by Bradley Roney. After Austin Roussel walked to load the bases, Nick Dawson tied the game with a sacrifice fly before Connor Barron's fielder's choice drove in the go-ahead run.
Roney, who started the game at third base, came in to close the game in the ninth for the Golden Eagles and registered the save by striking out the side. It was his fourth of the year and 22 of his career, which ranks No. 4 on the school's career chart for that category.
Southern Miss fifth-year coach Scott Berry was pleased with the fight that his club showed not only today, but over the weekend after the series' clinching victory.
"I hope it shows what we can do as a team," said Berry. "Winning this series was very big. We had to be able to get in there and go toe-to-toe, and I think that's exactly what you saw. Both sides didn't give in."
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a four-run advantage in the opening inning as Mason Robbins drove home a run with a single, before Matt Durst lined a Will Starling pitch over the leftfield wall for a three-run shot, his first of the campaign. The Trojans (7-5) got back into the game in the third to tie the score with four runs of their own as Nick Masonia capped the scoring with a two-run homer to left.
The first tie of the game last until the fourth before Michael Sterling delivered a RBI single that scored Roussel, who doubled to start the inning to give the home squad a 5-4 advantage.
That lead held up until the eighth as Masonia knotted the game again with his second homer of the contest, and second of the season. Tyler Vaughn then singled a run home later in the frame to give the visitors their only lead of the day.
Ryan Milton, who came on to get the final out in the eighth, registered the victory to improve to 1-1 on the year, while Marc Skinner, the third of four Troy hurlers, suffered the loss by allowing a run on a hit and walk and getting just one out to fall to 1-1.