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Southern Miss overcomes Saturday morning loss to advance to Sun Belt championship

The Golden Eagles celebrate after a Dustin Dickerson home run on Saturday morning in Montgomery, Ala. (Photo by Aimee Cronin/The Gazebo Gazette)

After an unenthusiastic 4-2 loss to Appalachian State Saturday morning, Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry told reporters that his team needed to find a sense of urgency if they wanted to advance in the Sun Belt conference tournament.

And a sense of urgency the Golden Eagles indeed found.

During the elimination game against the Mountaineers later in the afternoon, No. 16-ranked Southern Miss found a groove offensively, exploding for 15 hits in an 11-1 mercy rule win. The victory, which is the team’s 18th over its last 20 games, sends Berry’s squad to the conference finals in the program’s first year as a member of the Sun Belt.

“I drew from the experience of Coastal Carolina during the regular season where we got punched,” Berry said, recounting when his team lost two of three to the No. 7 Chanticleers in April. “It doesn’t matter your record. It’s what you do now to advance.”

With the exception of the fourth and fifth innings, Southern Miss scored early and often in game two against Appalachian State. Southern Miss pitcher Will Armistead stayed cool and collected, striking out three and allowing one run over seven innings of work.

The Golden Eagles (40-17) have now reached 40 wins for the seventh straight season, tops across Division I. They will play the winner of Saturday night’s contest between Coastal Carolina and Louisiana. First pitch is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. CT and can be watched on ESPN+.

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