Golden Eagles flunk after Friday’s 13-5 loss to Illinois

It was a bad night at the office for Southern Miss as they dropped the first game of the weekend series 13-5 to Illinois. Nothing seemingly went the way of the Golden Eagles, as they stranded base runners early and uncharacteristically gave up the long ball. Southern Miss shockingly laid an egg, and the grades will reflect that.


You know it’s going to be a long night when Tanner Hall gives up five earned runs. The Fighting Illini attacked him early and often, fouling off pitches and forcing long at-bats along the way. He went five innings while giving up six hits and allowing a walk. Hall’s replacement, Will Armistead, netted zero success, as the sophomore allowed three runs in his lone inning of work. Holland Townes entered after him and failed to record a single out, walking three and giving up two runs in the process. Jackson Parker allowed three runs while recording two outs in the eighth inning to put an exclamation point on Illinois’ night.

To highlight just how bad the pitching was compared to the rest of the season, Hall allowed more earned runs in the third inning alone than Southern Miss had allowed in the four games prior. The staff was atop the Division 1 rankings coming into tonight, and they now just have to regroup after tonight’s efforts.



Despite the team scoring five runs, it was inopportune hitting in the early innings that allowed the deficit to increase. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Southern Miss had the bases loaded after two walks and a hit batsman. After Illinois called a mound meeting, Riley Gowans struck out Slade Wilks, Blake Johnson and Danny Lynch in back-to-back-to-back at-bats to end the inning, stranding the bases loaded. The Golden Eagles managed to score three in the bottom of the fifth, but they stranded the bases loaded one again as Lynch came feet away from a go-ahead grand slam. By this point, the damage had been done by Illinois.

The lone late-game highlight came when Wilks blasted a 466-foot home run over the Right Field Roost in the seventh inning. It was too little too late, as it cut the Illinois lead to six runs. Rodrigo Montenegro notched a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, making the final score 13-5. It certainly wasn’t the worst hitting night by any means for Southern Miss, but the struggles with men on base led to an insurmountable deficit.



It’s not that there were bad plays by the Golden Eagle defense, but they get a C whenever a bad play leads to a run in a game like this. After allowing a two-run home run earlier in the inning, Armistead could have ended the inning with a routine throw to first. Instead, he chunked the ball into the Illinois bullpen, allowing a run to score. This was adding insult to injury as this came in the inning after Southern Miss cut the Fighting Illini lead to two. There were no double plays recorded on the night, though one was overturned in the second inning.


All in all, this is a game that the Golden Eagles would like to forget about. They have the opportunity to cleanse today’s drubbing with Game 2 Saturday at 2 p.m.