HATTIESBURG, Miss. (USM Athletics) - Gabe Montenegro registered a two-run, go-ahead double in the eighth to lead Southern Miss past UConn 6-5 in the first of a three-game weekend series Friday night at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
Montenegro finished with a pair of hits and three runs driven in as the Golden Eagles (3-2) fought back from two deficits in the contest.
After UConn scored in the opening frame on a sacrifice fly from Pat Winkel in the first, Montenegro hit the first pitch he saw to lead off the bottom half of the inning off of the scoreboard in left-centerfield to tie the score.
A pair of solo home runs by Chris and Pat Winkel in the third, their first each this season, gave the visitors a 3-1 advantage, but Southern Miss took its first lead of the contest with a three-run fifth.
DJ Lynch and Dustin Dickerson led off the inning with a walk before Reed Trimble knocked in a run with a one-out double. After a strikeout, Christopher Sargent added a double to centerfield to score the final two runs to put up the Golden Eagles 4-3.
That one-run cushion faded fast as UConn retied the game in the fifth with a Christian Fedko solo homer, his first of the year. They then went ahead again in the seventh, 5-4, with a sacrifice fly from Andy Hague.
Kenneth Haus, who entered the game on the mound for the Huskies to start the eighth for Ben Casparius, fanned the first hitter he faced before allowing two walks and a hit batter. The Huskies then went to the pen and Caleb Wurster gave up the big hit to Montenegro that proved to be the game winner.
Golden Eagle starter Hunter Stanley allowed five runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 but also fanned nine and did not walk a batter as he finished with 98 pitches, of which 76 were for strikes. Ryan Och gave Southern Miss a solid 1 1/3 relief as he recorded two strikeouts to go along with a hit and walk to earn the victory and improve to 1-0.
Garrett Ramsey fanned the side in the ninth in his Golden Eagle debut to earn his first save.
Haus suffered the loss for UConn (1-3) to fall to 1-1 on the year, while Casparius enjoyed a standout performance for UConn, giving up four runs on five hits with five walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings, working out of two jams late in his start.