HATTIESBURG – With one swing of UIC catcher Rob Calabrese’s bat in the top of the fifth inning Friday afternoon, Southern Miss found itself staring at a five-run deficit just about halfway through their opening-round game of the Hattiesburg Regional. Perfect.
As they have so often this baseball season, the Golden Eagles came from behind, rallying for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings and then holding on for an 8-7 victory before 4,239 at Taylor Park.
Matthew Guidry came off the bench to drive in three runs and top-seeded Southern Miss (49-14) took advantage of three errors by the top fielding team in Division I collegiate baseball to snuff the fourth-seeded Flames (39-16) in the end.
Game 2: South Alabama 6 Mississippi State 3
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – University of South Alabama right-hander Randy Bell tossed a complete game to lead the third-seeded Jaguars to a 6-3 win over No. 2 Mississippi State in the NCAA Hattiesburg (Miss.) Regional Friday at Pete Taylor Park.
Bell (7-3) allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts against two walks in nine innings pitched to record his seventh win and second complete game of the season. He retired 11 of the last 12 batters faced in the game to lead the Jaguars to their first postseason win over the Bulldogs.
“I’m very excited to open up the regional with a win against a very good Mississippi state team,” USA head coach Mark Calvi said. “This is our fourth time playing them this year and first time seeing Cole Gordon, but he’s been really hot as of late. This time of year you need to play well. For us, our guys have been playing playoff-caliber baseball, I would say, for the last six weeks. This is the only team that I’ve been a part of that everyone on the team understands the RPI, and understands what’s been going on the last six weeks. They understand the importance of winning to get here. I had a feeling, I knew when they got here, and it meant so much to them to get here, that there wouldn’t be a letdown. I knew they’d played their same brand of baseball and they’d be who they are. That’s a bunch of guys who work extremely hard and play together as a unit very, very well.