USM Eagles rally past South Alabama

HATTIESBURG – B.A. Vollmuth drove in four runs and Josh Thomason quieted an early South Alabama offensive explosion as No. 12 Southern Miss captured a 7-4 decision at Eddie Stanky Field here Wednesday evening.

The Golden Eagles (33-11) captured their final regular-season, non-conference tilt to sweep the two-game season series with the Jaguars.

Vollmuth, Tyler Koelling and Ashley Graeter each had two hits to pace the nine-hit Southern Miss attack.

It was Vollmuth that put USM up early with his 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot, to put give the visitors the early 2-0 advantage. It was Vollmuth’s first home runs since April 10 against Memphis.

The Jaguars, though, answered with two more runs in the bottom of the first and another in the second and third before chasing Golden Eagle starter Dillon Day from the contest after giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts over two-plus innings.

Thomason then came in to quiet the USA bats by retiring 20 of 22 batters that he faced down the stretch, allowing just a third-inning single and a fourth inning walk, before setting down the final 16 batters of the game.

The junior from Oxford, Miss., improved to 2-1 on the year as he had his longest outing of seven innings of the season to go along with a season-high five strikeouts.

Down 4-2 in the fifth, the Golden Eagles rallied for three runs to take the lead for good. With one out, Graeter and Kameron Brunty each drew walks. The Jaguars went to the bullpen and Tyler Koelling greeted Jeff Miller with a RBI double to right-centerfield. Vollmuth then doubled down the leftfield line to score two runs and put Southern Miss ahead for good.

USM added another run in the sixth on a Graeter run-scoring single and one in the seventh on a based loaded walk to Jared Bales.

Miller allowed two runs on five hits over 1 1/3 to suffer the loss for the Jaguars, who also got two hits from Taylor White.

The Golden Eagles return to action this weekend when they play host to UAB in a three-game Conference USA series. Game times for the weekend are 6 p.m., Friday, 2 p.m., Saturday and 1 p.m., Sunday. Saturday’s game is Military/First Responders Day and the pregame ceremonies will begin at 1:30 p.m.

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