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USM captures C-USA Tournament Championship

Hunter Slater. Photo by News Mississippi

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles have followed up their regular season conference title run with a C-USA Tournament championship after taking down FAU 12-3 in today’s championship game.

The Golden Eagles took the field in the championship game just a few hours after taking down Charlotte 6-0 earlier in the day to clinch their spot in the tournament’s final game. Charlotte defeated USM yesterday to put the pressure on the Golden Eagles, but they responded in a big way this morning, and the momentum carried over to the final.

USM didn’t waste any game getting their offense going as Matt Wallner put the Golden Eagles up 2-0 with a home run in the 1st inning.

The bats kept on rolling in the 2nd inning when Bryant Bowen stepped to the plate with a man on base and belted another USM home run to make it 4-0.

After another RBI from Wallner made it 5-0, FAU would eventually break through with a 3-run shot to make it 5-3 in the 7th. USM wouldn’t allow FAU to get any closer, and the offense made sure this one was going to go the Golden Eagles’ way. Big hits from Matthew Guidry, Hunter Slater and Daniel Keating would push the lead to 12-3 by the end of the 8th, and the pitching staff kept FAU down.

After Mason Strickland pitched a complete game shutout earlier in the day, four different pitchers took the mound in the championship game with Keller Bradford going 4.2 innings to pick up the win.

After the game, head coach Scott Berry praised his team for staying focused all the way through the tournament, even after last night’s setback.

“It’s just a great feeling because it’s so hard to do what we just did. To win our regular season title and try to hold off seven other teams to win this automatic bid in a conference tournament championship and of course the way we did it. Last night we were looking really good and then all of a sudden, we’re faced with a two-game we had to win. The attitude is all about mental. We talked about I know we’re tired, but tomorrow morning we have to show up and it becomes a mental game and that’s exactly what it is,” Berry said.

The Golden Eagles will now turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament and they’ll find out who’ll they’ll face tomorrow when the tournament field is announced.

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