Courtesy of USM Athletics
No. 22 Southern Miss did it offensively with its bottom third of the batting order Saturday afternoon in defeating Rice 10-1 for a Conference USA victory at Reckling Park.
Will McGillis, Blake Johnson and Dustin Dickerson – the No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 hitters – went a combined 6-for-9 with two sacrifice bunts and two sacrifice flies with five RBI as the Golden Eagles (28-14 overall, 15-7 C-USA) clinched a tie of the weekend series with the Owls (18-25-1, 6-16-1).
McGillis went 1-for-3 with two sacrifice bunts, Johnson added a 2-for-2 day with a sacrifice fly and two RBI, while Dickerson went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and three RBI to pace the Golden Eagles.
Danny Lynch also collected four hits from the No. 6 spot in the order as the visitors collected 15 in the contest.
After getting retired in order the first two innings, the Golden Eagles put together three-straight hits from McGillis – a double – Johnson and Dickerson in the third with the last hit driving in the game’s first run. An RBI groundout from Reed Trimble and a run-scoring double from Charlie Fischer, the first of two for him in the contest, gave the Eagles the early 3-0 advantage.
Johnson added to that lead with a sacrifice fly and Dickerson made the score 5-0 in the fourth with a run-scoring single.
The Golden Eagles added two more runs in the sixth on a Johnson single and Dickerson sacrifice fly, before adding another run in the seventh on an RBI single to left from Reece Ewing.
Fischer drove in his second run with his second double in the eighth and Trimble scored the team’s final run via a wild pitch later in the frame.
Southern Miss starting pitcher Ben Ethridge, the current C-USA Pitcher of the Week, threw seven scoreless innings for the Golden Eagles limiting the Owls to four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 5-1 on the year. Hurston Waldrep threw the final two innings for the Golden Eagles.
Rice starter Roel Garcia (1-4) allowed five runs over five innings on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout to suffer the loss.
The series finale takes place Sunday at 1 p.m.