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Southern Miss advances to regional finale after back-to-back Sunday wins

Southern Miss Baseball
Photo courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics

Southern Miss has advanced to the Auburn regional finale after winning consecutive Sunday matches.

The Golden Eagles weathered the afternoon rain delay at Plainsman Park and found new life offensively late in game one to eliminate Samford from the postseason with a 9-4 victory.

USM quickly returned to the diamond after the first match to take on No. 4 seed Pennsylvania, who had been unbeaten in regional play going into the late evening game.

Things started off iffy for the Golden Eagles as Penn struck first blood with a Wyatt Henseler solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. Former Mississippi 6A Player of the Year Nick Monistere evened the score in the top of the second with an RBI that scored Tate Parker.

Penn would immediately respond with a run in the bottom of the third, taking a 2-1 lead. The Quakers threatened to extend the lead with bases loaded and only one out in the bottom of the fourth.

Southern Miss Pitching coach Christian Ostrander pulled Nikko Mazza from the game and turned to left-handed reliever Justin Storm, who got the Golden Eagles out of the jam and proceeded to have a legendary outing.

After three innings of stagnant at-bats, Carson Paetow stepped up to the plate and gave his team a spark with a drive down the right-field line, scoring both Nick Monistere and himself due to an erroneous throw from Penn’s first baseman.

Storm continued to silence the Quaker’s bats. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles’ offense returned to a scoring slump in the seventh and eighth innings, putting the team in a crucial position going into the ninth.

Then the avalanche came.

Southern Miss added a whopping eight insurance runs to the board in the top of the ninth inning to put an exclamation point on a well-rounded game.

Storm was credited with the win after posting a career-high 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched. Offensively, shortstop Dustin Dickerson hit the team’s lone home run, which scored three in the ninth inning. Monistere also had a notable performance with three hits and three RBIs.

Southern Miss will be back in action against Penn tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT. Whoever wins will advance to a super regional.

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