HOUSTON, Texas - Southern Miss right fielder Mason Robbins went 3-for-5, including an RBI-single in a two-run seventh inning, as the second-seeded Golden Eagles clinched a spot in the 2013 Conference USA Baseball Championship title game with a 4-2 win over No. 6 seed Houston in pod play Friday afternoon at Rice University's Reckling Park.
With the game knotted at 2-all after six innings, the Golden Eagles used a little two-out magic to go ahead for good in the top of the seventh. Golden Eagles' second baseman Isaac Rodriguez broke the deadlock with an RBI-single up the middle to plate centerfielder Dillon Day and Robbins followed with a run-scoring infield single to second which drove in designated hitter Austin Roussel for what proved to be the game's final run.
In victory, Southern Miss improved to 30-25 on the year and 2-0 in pod play. The Golden Eagles, who close out pod play on Saturday with a 7 p.m. contest against East Carolina, will play in their fifth C-USA Championship title game on Sunday when they will take on the winner of Saturday's Rice/Memphis matchup at 1 p.m. That championship contest will be broadcast live nationally on the CBS Sports Network. Southern Miss has a pair of championship titles in its history, taking home the trophy in 2003 at Tulane's Turchin Stadium and again in 2010 at Houston's Cougar Field. Houston, meanwhile, fell to 36-21 overall and 1-1 in pod action. The Cougars will conclude action in the C-USA Championship on Saturday when they square off against Tulane at 3 p.m.
Houston out-hit Southern Miss, 12-10, and took advantage of three Golden Eagle errors. The USM defense, however, turned four double plays and got stellar pitching from starter Jake Drehoff as well as relievers Daniel Wineski and A.J. Glasshof. Drehoff (5-5) earned the victory after giving up a pair of unearned runs on eight hits and a walk to go with four strikeouts in six-plus innings of work while Glasshof picked up his first save after fanning a pair and scattering three hits in 2.1 scoreless frames out of the bullpen.
Offensively, Day had a three-hit outing of his own and scored two of the Golden Eagles' runs. Rodriguez' RBI-single in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 21 games.