Despite allowing seven hits from Southern Miss, the Tennessee Volunteers shut out the Golden Eagles 5-0 to earn a berth in the 2023 NCAA College World Series in Omaha on Monday night.
Tennessee starter Drew Beam (9-4) gave up all seven singles, but only walked one and fanned seven over six innings. After Aaron Combs got a strikeout, Chase Burns entered the game and threw the final 2.2 innings with four strikeouts.
The Volunteers (43-20) jumped out in the second inning on a dribbler through the right side by Griffin Merritt, which scored Christian Moore on the play. Moore opened the inning with a single and then went to second on a walk by Golden Eagle starter Niko Mazza.
A walk and a hit batter by Mazza in the fifth was followed by Denton’s blast to center, his 16th of the year. Maui Ahuna completed their scoring with a solo shot off the scoreboard in the seventh for his eighth of the campaign.
The contest was the final game of his career for Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry. Berry finishes his 14-year reign at USM with a 528-276-1 mark, making him the program’s all-time winningest coach.
Berry spoke of the consistency the USM program has set during his time at Southern Miss along with a great coaching staff, administration, and players during the press conference afterward.
The Golden Eagles left 11 runners on base, including at least one in seven of nine innings. Mazza (5-2) suffered the defeat after allowing four runs on five hits and five strikeouts over five innings.
Southern Miss (46-20) ends their season for the second straight year in the super regional round, having reached its seven straight NCAA Tournament and 19th overall.