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Southern Miss stumbles to losers’ bracket in 10-4 loss to Indiana

Indiana controlled the first game of the Knoxville Regional from start to finish on Friday afternoon against Southern Miss.

Billy Oldham gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Indiana cleanup hitter Brock Tibbits in the first inning. The long ball set the tone for what was an underwhelming outing for Southern Miss.

Oldham, the Southern Miss ace who threw 20 pitches in Sunday’s Sun Belt Tournament title game, left the contest in the fourth inning after surrendering a total of seven runs, 10 hits, and striking out only one batter. Sophomore lefthander Kros Sivley relieved Oldham and was effective in relief, holding the Hoosiers to just two earned runs the rest of the contest.

But it was the offensive struggles that prevented the Golden Eagles from gaining a foothold. Ty Bothwell, Indiana’s veteran ace, was nothing short of dominant in his start. The southpaw gave up three runs, all in the sixth inning, and struck out nine Southern Miss batters on the way to his seventh win of the season.

That sixth inning was the only time the Golden Eagles threatened to dig back into game, scoring three runs to cut the lead to 8-3. Reliever Drew Buhr got the final out to strand the bases loaded in that frame, then cruised through the final three innings to close out the win.

Southern Miss wasn’t short on opportunity on Friday but was unable to get the big swing to capture scoring opportunities. They mustered just three hits with runners on base (3-for-20) and a single base knock with runners in scoring position (1-for-6).

Though it will be a steep hill to climb, the Golden Eagles still have hope. Before their super regional appearances in 2022 and 2023, they had to battle back from the elimination bracket in each preceding regional.

Southern Miss now awaits the loser of top-seeded Tennessee and Northern Kentucky in an 11 a.m. elimination game on Saturday.

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