HATTIESBURG, Miss. (USM Athletics) - Matt Guidry drove in three runs while Hunter LeBlanc and Dustin Dickerson added two RBI apiece to lead Southern Miss to an 8-6 non-conference victory over Central Arkansas Sunday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
The Golden Eagles’ win clinched them to the series victory while also propelling them to 6-1. Their start matches the best seven-game beginning to a year over the last last four seasons. UCA fell to 3-4.
Southern Miss jumped out to an early advantage over the Bears with three runs in the second.
Charlie Fischer opened the frame with a home run to leftfield, his first of the season, and Hunter LeBlanc later cranked a single to centerfield to drive in two more runs.
After UCA tied the game with three of their own in the top of the third on a two-run double from Hunter Hicks and a Coby Potvin sacrifice fly, the home team took the lead for good with three more tallies in the bottom half of the frame.
The Golden Eagles loaded the bases on a pair of hit by pitches and a walk when Dickerson knocked in a pair of runs with a double. Guidry later was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, driving home the third run.
The Golden Eagles extended the lead to 8-3 with a two-run single from Guidry in the fifth and held off a late charge from the Bears with solid relief pitching over the final 6 1/3 innings from Ben Ethridge, Ryan Och and Tyler Spring.
Ethridge kept UCA at bay for most of his four-inning outing, allowing only a pair of runs on six hits with a season-high trying six strikeouts. His only blemish was a Potvin two-run single in the seventh. Och then allowed a run over 1 2/3 innings, as he gave up a RBI single to Beau Orlando in the eighth.
Spring retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his first save.