USM swept by Ragin’ Cajuns

Nick Dawson attempts to tag a Ragin’ Cajun out at second base at Pete Taylor Park Saturday night.  Hunt Mercier/Printz
Nick Dawson attempts to tag a Ragin’ Cajun out at second base at Pete Taylor Park Saturday night.
Hunt Mercier/Printz

In the opener of the three-game series, Southern Miss (2-5) fell to Louisiana-Lafayette (7-1) 6-2. The day-night doubleheader ended in the same result as ULL won 8-5 in the day game and 9-5 in the night game.
Expected inclement weather pushed the Sunday tilt to Saturday night, forcing the doubleheader.

In game one, ULL got on the board in the first inning as Seth Harrison led off with a bunt single before Jace Conrad doubled him home. Consecutive fielder’s choices netted the Ragin’ Cajuns their second run of the inning.
Going into the eighth inning, ULL held a 3-2 lead before putting a crooked number on the board. Evan Powell singled home a run before Nick Thurman doubled down the line, scoring two. The lead would stand through the final two frames as ULL won 6-2.

The Southern Miss offense was stagnant for most of the game, mustering just five hits. Dylan Burdeaux had two of those hits and an RBI; Michael Sterling also had an RBI.

Conor Fisk turned in an impressive start for USM, throwing six innings, giving up just four hits, two runs while striking out 11. Nick Johnson took the loss as he pitched 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits while striking out two.

In the first game of the doubleheader Saturday, it took 12 innings to decide the game, but a three-run 12th won the game for ULL. USM got another impressive start from Cameron Giannini, but the bullpen couldn’t deliver once again.

Giannini threw six innings of two-hit ball, struck out two and did not allow a run. Southern Miss started the game swinging the bat well, scoring four runs in the first inning.

Three singles, a walk, a wild pitch and an error gave the Golden Eagles a 4-0 lead in the first. Pitching dominated the next six innings as the lead held up going into the eighth inning.

After striking out three batters in the seventh inning, Jay Myrick walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth before being replaced by James McMahon. After McMahon hit Powell, ULL first basemen Chase Compton singled home two runs.

After a sacrifice fly from Greg Davis, Harrison singled home another run to tie the game 4-4. A scoreless inning in the ninth forced extra innings. The two teams traded runs in the 11th inning, but ULL put the game away in the 12th.

Compton singled home two runs and Michael Strentz had a sacrifice fly to give ULL an 8-5 lead. USM’s Breck Kline started the bottom of the 12th with a walk, but Michael Sterling and Mason Robbins both struck and Chuckie Robinson grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

In the night tilt of the doubleheader, USM starter Taylor Nunez was solid, but errors allowed ULL to take an early lead in the first inning. USM gave up three runs in the first, all unearned on two errors and a wild pitch.
Pitching dominated for the next few innings before Strentz hit a two-run homer in the fifth to extend the Ragin’ Cajun lead to 5-0. ULL would add another run in the inning off a Nick Thurman double.

ULL tallied another run in the sixth before USM finally got on the board with two runs in the inning. Sterling and Robbins led off the inning by getting hit by pitches. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Michael Gilbert singled home two runs.

ULL extended their lead to six with two more runs in the seventh. USM would add three runs of their own in the frame, but it wasn’t enough as ULL held on for the win.

Matt Durst led the Golden Eagle offense in the final game with two hits and three RBIs, all coming on a three-run double in the seventh. Nunez pitch 4 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, six runs (three earned), walked three and struck out three.

USM will hope to get back on track as they host Alcorn State and Alabama Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, before Troy comes to town for a three-game series this weekend. Both weekday games are scheduled for 6 p.m.