PEARL – Southern Mississippi coach Scott Berry said his team and Ole Miss each needed Tuesday’s non-conference game to regain momentum.
As it turns out, it was Berry’s Golden Eagles that got it done.
No. 22 Southern Miss survived two Ole Miss rallies to push across two runs in the top of the 12th when Adam Doleac’s single to left field drove in Kameron Brunty and Tyler Koelling, and the Golden Eagles won 8-6 before a crowd of 3,656 at Trustmark Park.
“I think both coaches would tell you that neither team played very well. Neither of us are happy with the way we played. We’re just fortunate to get out of here with a win,” Berry said.
Brunty led off the 12th with a walk against Ole Miss reliever R.J. Hively, the sixth of seven Ole Miss pitchers. Koelling singled against Blair Wright, and both were bunted ahead by Travis Creel.
After an intentional walk, Doleac delivered against Wright.
Being involved in the winning play was validation for Creel.
He replaced shortstop B.A. Vollmuth as a pinch-runner in the 11th when Vollmuth injured his hip and stopped at first base on a ball hit to the wall in right-center.
Creel was hit by a batted ball for the second out of the 11th.
The Eagles (24-8) put two on the board in the inning on a Mark Ellis single.
In the bottom of the 11th, Ole Miss extended play as Zach Kirksey reached first base on Creel’s error, allowing Austin Anderson to score and tie the game at 6.
Anderson doubled home Taylor Hightower, who led off the 11th with a walk.
Hively took the loss for Ole Miss (20-14).
The Rebels’ 11th inning effort were the only runs allowed in a 32/3 inning stint by sinker-balling Southern Miss closer Collin Cargill (4-2).
Creel figured in on the last play too, fielding a ground ball and zipping it across to first to beat a diving Hightower.
Southern Miss earned a sweep of the two-game series. The Golden Eagles defeated Ole Miss 4-3 in 10 innings in Hattiesburg on March 30.
The teams combined for 23 hits, eight errors and 27 runners left on base, 17 of them by Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles scored three unearned runs in the first against Ole Miss starter Matt Tracy as first baseman Matt Smith was misplayed a ground ball with two outs and the bases loaded. Smith’s error was followed by an infield single and a blooper to right field that also produced runs. The three runs nearly stood up.
Ole Miss made it a 4-3 game in the eighth when Smith’s ground ball scored Alex Yarbrough, who had tripled.
The Rebels tied the game at four in the ninth on Preston Overbey’s RBI single.
Yarbrough had three of Ole Miss’ 11 hits. Doleac was 4 for 6 with three RBIs for USM.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal