HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Mason Robbins drove in a pair of runs and Connor Barron scored three times to lead Southern Miss to a 6-4 Conference USA victory over East Carolina here Sunday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles (30-22 overall, 17-10 in C-USA) captured its seventh of nine league series this spring with the win, after splitting a doubleheader with the Pirates (29-23, 14-13) that took 24 innings to complete on Saturday. The victory gave Southern Miss at least 30 wins for the 13-straight season.
"Coming off yesterday's win in game two, after the loss in game one, it was all about momentum," said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry. "People don't understand that when you lose a 15-inning game, how hard it is to go out there and compete in game two. We seem to feel sorry for ourselves. We put everything on the line for 15 innings, and we have nothing to show for it but a loss. So the test after that was to go out and define ourselves. We passed that test last night, but the next test was to carry that momentum into today."
Southern Miss had jumped out to an early 4-1 advantage before the Pirates rallied for three runs in the seventh to tie the score. The knotted score did not last long as Barron led off the bottom of the frame to centerfield. After a sacrifice bunt by Michael Sterling and an intentional walk to Robbins, Matt Durst drove Barron with the go-ahead run. Southern Miss added an insurance tally in the eighth on a RBI double by Nick Dawson.
The tone of the game was set early as the Golden Eagles got a leadoff walk to Barron and Sterling was hit by a pitch. Robbins then drove in his first run of the contest with a single before Breck Kline added an RBI single. ECU starter David Lucroy lasted just six hitters and got one out as he gave up two runs on a pair of hits and two walks with a hit batsman.
Sterling added to the Golden Eagles lead in the second with a sacrifice fly and Robbins drove in Barron again, who singled earlier in the frame to make the score 4-1.
Southern Miss starter Cameron Giannini gave up an unearned run in the second to the Pirates and settled down after that working out of trouble in almost every inning as the Pirates stranded eight runners over the first six innings. After a first-pitch ground out to start the seventh, Giannini gave up back-to-back singles and then a walk and all three runners scored to even the game at 4-4.
Giannini finished without a decision, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and five walks with one strikeout.
Luke Lowery then came in and gave up just one hit over 1 2/3 frames to get the victory and improve to 4-0 on the year. Sean Buchholz tallied his fifth save by striking out the final two batters of the game, after allowing a walk and a single.
Brett Mabry, who delivered a strong six innings of relief for the Pirates got tagged with the loss, falling to 4-3. Mabry gave up two runs on just two hits and four walks with one strikeout.
Southern Miss returns to action for their final regular season series at Charlotte, beginning Thursday with a 5 p.m., CT contest.