Southern Miss makes the Honor Roll after Sunday’s 7-2 win over Liberty


After escaping with narrow victories in the first two games, Southern Miss dominated Liberty 7-2. The Golden Eagles allowed five hits while hitting nine of their own in a game where all but one USM player reached base. It was an emphatic victory, and the gradebook will showcase that with (spoiler) As across the board.



Niko Mazza made his first career start Sunday, and he went longer than both Tanner Hall or Matthew Adams over the weekend. He exited in the sixth inning after allowing two baserunners, but reliever Billy Oldham got him off the hook with two swift outs. Mazza consistently hit between 92-94 MPH on his fastballs, and his cutters and changeups kept the hitters honest. He allowed four hits over five-and-one-third innings while walking two and striking out six on 75 pitches.

Out of the bullpen, Oldham did his job. He only faced two batters, but he quickly put them away to preserve the lead and Mazza’s eventual win. Freshman J.B. Middleton brought the heat in the seventh and eighth innings with a fastball that stayed around 96 MPH. He didn’t allow a baserunner while striking out four – including the side in the eighth. Justin Storm’s outing is what keeps the grade from being a perfect A+, as he allowed a leadoff home run in the ninth inning. The first three batters made good contact with two deep fly-outs following the long ball, but Storm struck out Cole Hertzler to clinch the sweep.



In the complete inverse of the previous two games, the Golden Eagles got on base early and often. Not only did they get on base, but they capitalized with runners on, contrary to Friday and Saturday. The nine hits were one thing, but walks and baserunning allowed Southern Miss to run away with the game. The Golden Eagles stole two bases Sunday, and they scored two runs on wild pitches to go with them.

Dustin Dickerson led the team in hits with two doubles, but a leadoff home run by Tate Parker in the eighth inning gave the Golden Eagles another insurance run while paving the way for a three-run inning. Carson Paetow started the scoring off for Southern Miss with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the first, scoring Dickerson. Matthew Etzel had an RBI double in the fifth inning, scoring Danny Lynch. 

Liberty’s starting pitcher Mikey Tepper weathered the storm after the first inning, but USM scored both baserunners that Tepper stranded in the fifth. The Golden Eagles tripled their hit total from Saturday and eclipsed Friday’s hit total. The main difference was 13 left on base Friday compared to seven stranded baserunners Sunday. For the Game 3 improvement, USM gets an A.



Though it would be easy to give Southern Miss a B based on Lynch’s third inning throwing error, Etzel saved the score for the Golden Eagles in the second. Liberty’s Three Hillier hit a deep drive to the warning track in center field. Etzel, like head coach Scott Berry said all preseason, made it look easy. He leaped in the air and made the catch before crashing into the wall, saving an extra-base hit.

Southern Miss had the lone error on the day, and the team turned a double play to end the first inning. As a whole, the Golden Eagles had a solid day in the field.


This one was not a very difficult game to grade at all. Southern Miss took control and never relented, sweeping the preseason ASUN Conference favorite. The Golden Eagles move on to host New Orleans Tuesday following an A performance.