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Southern Miss takes down Louisiana 6-2 to win Sun Belt championship

Photo courtesy of USM Athletics

With No. 16 Southern Miss down 2-1 to Louisiana in the top of the fourth inning at Sunday’s Sun Belt championship game, the Golden Eagles brought in relief pitcher Justin Storm to slow down the Ragin Cajun’s growing momentum.

Immediately, Storm gave up a single, but left fielder Reece Ewing threw a laser to catcher Blake Johnson to tag the runner attempting to score out and turn the tide in the Golden Eagles’ favor. From there, Storm threw 5 2/3 innings of scoreless ball as the Southern Miss belted three home runs on the way to a 6-2 victory and the program’s first conference championship since joining the Sun Belt.

“I’m extremely proud of our team coming out against a really hot team in Lafayette,” head coach Scott Berry said afterward. “In my own mind, I had the feeling of Justin (Storm) coming in like he did against LSU in the regional last year. I know he has that kind of stuff in his mentality to go out there and pound the zone.”

With the win, Southern Miss – who is in its first season as a member of the Sun Belt – captured the conference’s automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The victory was the 19th in the last 21 games for the Golden Eagles as they collected double-digit hits for the fourth time in five tournament games.

Slade Wilks, Dustin Dickerson, and Danny Lynch all had home runs as Storm (5-1) came away with the victory.

Ace Tanner Hall was named the Sun Belt Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player while Dickerson, Lynch, and Christopher Sargent were named to the all-tournament team.

Next up for the Golden Eagles (41-17) will be finding out which regional they will play in after narrowly missing out on earning a host site Sunday night. The bracket will be announced Monday at 11 a.m. CT.

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