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Coast natives power Southern Miss baseball to 7-5 win over Air Force

Vancleave native Carson Paetow after a seventh-inning home run against Air Force on Monday (Photo courtesy of USM Athletics)

The Southern Miss baseball team played for a fourth day in a row on Monday, taking down Air Force 7-5 in Hattiesburg.

The win, which was much needed after dropping Sunday’s chance at a sweep over Marist, was powered by a couple of coastal Mississippians who stepped up to the plate – literally – and the mound, too.

With the game at 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Vancleave native Carson Paetow launched a two-run home run over the right-center field wall to break open the game. Fellow coastie, Landen Payne of Ocean Springs, then closed out the victory defensively with a near-perfect performance pitching.

What the coach said

New Southern Miss head coach Christian Ostrander was pleased with the way his team bounced back after a tough game to cap off opening weekend.

“I’m very proud of the guys after suffering their first loss last night. It was a good club, and we had to learn from it,” Ostrander said. “It’s not a panic thing, changing the lineup as we did, but we wanted to see what the guys could do and find the right formula.”

The biggest lineup change was flipping Paetow and Dalton McIntyre in batting order. McIntyre moved to leadoff while Paetow went to sixth.

How it happened

Air Force (1-3) jumped out early with a second-inning run off Southern Miss (3-1) pitcher Will Armistead. The right-hander then put it into next gear, striking out six batters in a row to finish with nine strikeouts. Coming out after the fifth inning with the Golden Eagles up 2-1, Armistead allowed just two hits and the lone run on the day.

Air Force retook a 3-2 lead off relief pitcher Colby Allen in the top of the sixth before the Southern Miss bats lit up in the bottom of the inning. Ozzie Pratt started it with a double before being driven in by Branden Luke and tying the game. With the bases loaded, back-to-back walks put the Golden Eagles up 5-3. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Pratt hit his second double of the day before Paetow knocked him in with a home run to extend the lead to 7-3.

The Falcons picked up two final runs in the eighth on two RBI doubles, but it wasn’t enough as Payne closed out the final 1.2 innings of play to collect his first save of the season.

Next up

Southern Miss returns to action on Wednesday as they take the road for the first time this season to face New Orleans. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Maestri Field.

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