Grading Southern Miss’ performance in 2-1 victory over Liberty

Though the bats looked completely dead in the water into the seventh inning, Southern Miss was able to claw back and steal a 2-1 victory over Liberty. Fresh faces on the mound helped the Golden Eagles stay in the game, and fresh faces at the plate helped them take over the game. After the second game of the 2023 season, let’s take a look at the gradebook following USM’s win.



This one was a no-brainer. Matthew Adams got the start Saturday, and he was impressively efficient in his first weekend start. The only run he allowed was unearned, as the runner scored from second after advancing on a failed pickoff attempt. It appeared as if Adams would be pulled during or after the fourth inning, but he waltzed in the fifth inning and put the Flames down in order. On 86 pitches, he struck out seven while allowing three hits and a walk.

The surprise of the game came with redshirt freshman Kros Sivley. The Sumrall native made his collegiate debut Saturday in an outing that was only expected to go two innings at a maximum, according to head coach Scott Berry and Sivley. He doubled that and even surpassed Adams’ strikeout total with eight of his own. Sivley took it home for Southern Miss in a four-inning gem, allowing three hits and a walk on 59 pitches. With the two combining for one unearned run and six hits on the night, it should come as no surprise that the Golden Eagle staff aced this test.



Yes, Southern Miss hit when it mattered most, but nobody should be proud of scoring two runs on three hits. Had the pitching not been lights-out, the Golden Eagles would be 1-1 right now. The reason that Southern Miss doesn’t receive an F grade is because of Gabe Lacy’s game-winning RBI single in the eighth inning.

The first hit of the game was recorded by Danny Lynch, who was subsequently thrown out at second on the ensuing pitch. The second hit came in the bottom of the seventh when Tate Parker reached on an infield single, which Carson Paetow scored from second on. Lacy’s eighth inning single went through the right side, allowing Brady Faust to score from second.

The hitting has to improve if Southern Miss wants to play into June. Christopher Sargent and Slade Wilks have yet to record a hit this season, and Dustin Dickerson and Danny Lynch only have one. Lacy had none coming into his last at-bat, but a game-winner will give him some much-deserved slack.



There really isn’t much to write home about defensively, as they had little opportunity after 15 out of the 27 outs were strikeouts. The lone error came with a failed pickoff attempt by Adams, allowing the runner to advance to second. The runner would score on a single in the fourth inning, netting the Flames’ lone run. The Golden Eagles did turn a double play, though, so it would be unfair to punish them too harshly for an error charged to the pitcher.



A coaching decision made in the bottom of the eighth inning changed the trajectory of the game for Southern Miss. After Paetow was hit by a pitch, Berry substituted Faust for Paetow to get more speed at first base. With Lynch coming up to the plate, Berry called time. Lynch promptly stepped into the batter’s box and perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt, advancing Faust to second. Lacy was the next batter up, and he would not have hit a game-winner without Berry’s coaching decision. For that, he gets bonus points.


Overall, the team has much to improve upon. A coach’s dream is to win games while still being able to coach up the team, and that’s exactly what Berry has on his hands. The 2-0 Golden Eagles host the 0-2 Flames of Liberty Sunday at 11:30 a.m.