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Southern Miss drops Game 2 to Tennessee, setting up Monday rubber match for Omaha

Southern Miss shortstop Dustin Dickerson attempts to turn a double play against Tennessee on Sunday (Aimee Cronan/The Gazebo Gazette)

Despite jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, Southern Miss (46-19) surrendered eight runs to Tennessee (42-20) over the course of the next two innings to drop game two of the Hattiesburg Super Regional by a score of 8-4.

“Dollander was really good in game two today, throwing 96 (miles per hour) in the late innings,” Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said following a stellar performance by Tennessee starting pitcher Chase Dollander. “It was a long day. Give credit to Tennessee for putting up runs.”

The Volunteer bats heated up in the top of the fourth inning, exploding for six runs against Golden Eagles ace Tanner Hall. After a leadoff double and a flyout, Griffin Merritt singled in the Vols’ first run. Blake Burke followed with a two-run home run to right field, his 16th of the year.

After a strike out, Hall then allowed a walk, a single, and a hit by pitch to load the bases before Jared Dickey hit a ball to center field that was misplayed by Matthew Etzel, resulting in three runs for Tennessee.

An inning later, Tennessee added two more runs on an RBI groundout to first. The throw to the plate kicked away from catcher Rodrigo Montenegro and allowed for another Volunteers score.

Dollander (7-6) went eight-plus innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts to earn the victory. After giving up a home run to Christopher Sargent, Dollander retired 18 of the next 19 batters he faced before walking the first batter to start the ninth. Chase Burns came in and got the final three outs to close out the game.

Hall (12-4) suffered his first loss in his last nine starts as he allowed seven runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts. The Golden Eagles tied a season-high for four errors in the contest.

A game three rubber match between Southern Miss and Tennessee will be played Monday at 5 p.m. CT. The winner of the contest will advance to Omaha, joining Virginia, TCU, Florida, Wake Forest, Oral Roberts, and LSU who have already secured their spots in the 2023 Men’s College World Series.

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