Southern Miss suffers heartbreaking loss in extra-innings at Auburn Regional
AUBURN, Ala. (WLBT) - A three-run 10th inning for Samford University leads to a heartbreaking defeat for Southern Miss in a low-scoring, All-American pitchers’ duel in the opening game of the Auburn Regional.
The stellar arm of the Golden Eagles’ first-ever consecutive first-team All-American Tanner Hall wasn’t enough for Southern Miss to edge past Samford’s second-team All-American Jacob Carvey.
Southern Miss failed to capitalize on multiple bases-loaded situations in the first nine innings and left 14, proving to haunt the Golden Eagles later in the game.
“I thought we had great at-bats all day, but we couldn’t get the big hits. Hopefully, we’ll get them tomorrow,” shortstop Dustin Dickerson said.
The Golden Eagles fell behind early after Hall gave up a rare pair of singles and an RBI double in the top of the third inning, giving the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead. Despite the shaky inning, the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year restored his All-American form in the following four innings.
“Everything started falling together towards the end,” Hall said. “I felt like I was doing the same thing that I did at the beginning of the game... attacking the batter.”
Southern Miss was able to tack on a run in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to a sacrifice fly ball from shortstop Dustin Dickerson that saw catcher Rodrigo Montenegro slide into home plate to tie the game at 1 apiece.
It was all about the performances of Tanner Hall and Samford’s Carvey and relief pitcher Ben Petschke up until the tenth inning.
A home run from a former Hinds Community College student-athlete Josh Rodgriguez, an RBI double, and a SAC fly off the Bulldog bats against a pair of relief pitchers for Southern Miss in the top of the tenth inning saw Samford take a 4-1 lead.
Southern Miss sparked a rally in the bottom half of the inning and scratched off a run, but it would be cut short as the Golden Eagles suffered a 4-2 defeat.
“This is a real sense of urgency now where you either win to play another day or you go home,” head coach Scott Berry said. “That was the message after the game. Offensively, we didn’t get the big hit we needed. We just didn’t do enough offensively.”
Southern Miss falls to the elimination bracket and will look to keep their season alive as they will face the loser of the Auburn and Penn game Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. inside Plainsman Park.
Junior Billy Oldham is expected to start on the mound for the Golden Eagles.
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