Southern Miss weathered the storm in dominating fashion with an 11-4 throttling of Valparaiso to claim the series.

HATTIESBURG, Ms – The No. 22 Southern Miss Golden Eagles welcomed the Valparaiso Beacons to Pete Taylor Park for a three-game series. They claimed the series two to one, Here is the game recaps:

Game 1

Southern Miss had just four hits and one run in the 6-1 loss to Valparaiso to open the weekend series. The Golden Eagles have a lot of figuring out to do, as both the offense and the pitching have been struggling recently. The win marked Valparaiso’s first ranked win since 2018.

“Just didn’t do enough, we didn’t compete enough, and [we’re] not tough enough where we need to be right now,” Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said.

Valparaiso got early hits on Southern Miss starting pitcher Tanner Hall in the top of the first inning, scratching across two runs to jump out to a 2-1 lead.


The Golden Eagles responded with a run after Matthew Etzel came away with an RBI single.

However, for Valpo, Brady Renfro blasted a grand slam in the seventh inning with two outs to help Valpo pull away from Southern Miss and extend the lead to 6-1.

Southern Miss had two tremendous opportunities to respond, starting in the bottom of the eighth inning. Valpo walked Danny Lynch to start the inning and then hit two Golden Eagle batters to load the bases with no outs. The top of the lineup was up for USM in Matthew Etzel, Dustin Dickerson, and Tate Parker. The moment was primed for a rally.

But Etzel struck out and Dickerson hit into a double play.

In the ninth, Southern Miss had them loaded again, and the game ended on a double play. Southern Miss is now 3-26 this season with the bases loaded, a mind-boggling stat.

“I’m challenging them [the lineup] to be tougher than what they are. We had chances. Even to get hit by pitches, we dodged out of the way. Good hitters stand in there and don’t move their feet. That’s what pitchers try to do, create fear and move them.” Berry said.


“I’m just looking for nine tough guys who will go out there and compete.” Berry said.

Hall started the game by giving up those two runs, but after pitching five scoreless innings, he gave his offense a chance to take control of the game. The offense proceeded to go down in order in three straight innings. Hall, who took the loss, had a final line of: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5 SO, and 2 BB in 103 pitches.

After him, Billy Oldham came to the mound for the first time since his injury a couple of weeks ago. He gave up the grand slam and a couple of walks, so he is still trying to get back in the groove of things.

“We needed to get him back out there. He hadn’t been out there in over two weeks,” Berry said. “Certainly, he would have liked to have a better outing than that, and we look for him to have the next one be better.”

Certainly, Berry and company would like to have a better outing in all areas than what was on display in Game 1.

The good news is that they will do it again tomorrow at 2 PM.

Game 2

When the umpire called a questionable second strike on Dustin Dickerson in the bottom of the third, he took it personally. He blasted a three-run home run which helped Southern Miss defeat Valparaiso 8-3 to even the series.

“I just had to flush it and move on. I can’t control what goes on back there in the strike zone. So I just tried to flush it and put a good swing on the next pitch, and I did that.” Dickerson said.

The knock was Dickerson’s first since the 2021 Oxford Regional on June 5th, 2021, 644 days ago. When Dickerson was asked if he knew how long it had been, he responded simply with, “too long.”

Before the home run, Southern Miss had only mustered up two hits, continuing their struggles from the plate from Friday’s game. After, it seemed as if the Golden Eagle offense woke up.

“He’s been swinging the bat good. I know he’s hit into some double plays, but those double play balls that he’s it have been hit really hard…I told him if you want to know the truth your swing plain is the best on this team.” Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said.

Just like yesterday, Valparaiso jumped out early on Southern Miss. Getting three straight hits off starter Matthew Adams and plating two of those to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Adams then went on to pitch a really good game.

“They hit some good pitches early. Those first three hits, I feel like I executed my spot and they just put good swings on them. I just kept going after them, don’t be afraid to pitch them strikes. I know my stuff is good enough.” Adams said.

It was good this afternoon. Adam’s pitched a line of: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 7 K’s, and 103 TP.

“Our pitcher, Matty Adams really settled in there. Gave up one more run in the third, but really minimized and gave us a chance to get that score back even off Dickerson’s home run.” Berry said.

After Adams came out, Kros Sivley closed that game for Southern Miss. He sat down the Beacons in order in two straight innings on just 20 pitches and fanned three. Berry said that Sivley had been the most consistent player out of the bullpen this season.

“He has. Really proud of that young man and what he has developed in to. He’s got a really funky arm action, but he throws strikes with it. There’s a lot of deception to what he does.” Berry said.

The game was tied at three after Dickerson’s home run, and it stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh inning. Matthew Etzel got on base and stole second, and Slade Wilks hit him in with an RBI triple to give Southern Miss their first lead of the series, 4-3.

Then the Golden Eagles came alive in the bottom of the eighth. After two straight outs, Rodrigo Montenegro walked, and Danny Lynch blasted a ball out to right for a two-run home run, his second of the year. Then Creek Robertson was hit by a pitch, and Etzel batted him in with an RBI triple to make the score 7-3. Etzel would then score on a wild pitch to drive home the final run.

A good bounce-back win for the Eagles as they look ahead to the rubber match tomorrow at 11 AM.

Game 3

Everything worked for the Golden Eagles, as Niko Mazza delivered the best start of his career, while the offense provided seven runs after Mazza left the mound for the final time. It was the type of victory that Southern Miss needed as they head towards conference play.

“The last two days we’ve been behind before we ever stepped to the plate,” Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said. “Today, Niko did a great job to go three-up, three-down in the top of the first, and [Slade] Wilks delivered with a two-run backside home run to put us up two runs and keep the momentum that we created from yesterday.”

Mazza had the Beacons swinging in circles, as he struck out a career-high 11 batters while tying the season high strikeout total for the Golden Eagles. The sophomore right-hander faced early adversity, as he allowed all three of his hits in the third inning. He managed to escape the inning with only one run on the board, and he was lights-out after.

“They had some good at-bats that inning… I really had to compete,” Mazza said. “I had a lot of strikeouts on the cutter today. [I used] the cutter early in counts and fastballs late. Valpo had a really good lineup with some tough hitters to get out.”

Mazza allowed a leadoff single, and he hit the next batter to bring two runners on. He allowed the third batter to single to left, but Tate Parker nailed the runner at home to prevent a run and record the first out of the inning. A single by the fourth batter of the inning put Valparaiso on the board, though Mazza struck out the last two batters to minimize the damage.

Mazza allowed six base runners through the first three innings, but he buckled down and only allowed two base runners through the rest of his outing. He allowed three hits and two walks while hitting three batters in his third win of the season.

After starting slow in the first two games, the Golden Eagles jumped ahead quickly after Wilks’ two-run homer in the first inning, scoring Dustin Dickerson. Wilks continued his hot start to the season by going two-for-three with three RBIs. His batting average rose to .388 on the year.

“Another very quality start out of that young man. He had a great 92-95 mph fastball with a cutter and changeup mix off of that,” Berry said. “There were a couple of innings where he was on the mound, and the rain started coming down and made [the ball] kind of slip. I think that was probably what you can attribute [the hit batters] to.”

The Golden Eagles would not stop there, as two more runs would score in the third inning. After a leadoff double by Matthew Etzel, Wilks was hit by a pitch to bring on Parker with runners on the corners. Parker did his job, and a sac-fly to left field scored Etzel. Wilks advanced to third on a Christopher Sargent single, and Southern Miss pulled off the double steal. Sargent trotted towards second base, drawing a throw by the Beacon catcher. The throw went straight into the turf and bounced multiple times before reaching the second baseman, and, instead of attempting to tag the less-than-speedy Sargent, he threw it home where Etzel had long beat out the throw.

“I thought today was really big that we got the lead early, and we never looked back from there,” Wilks said.

The teams were at a stalemate until the seventh inning where Southern Miss added two more runs following a bases-loaded walk and a sac-fly. Though the Golden Eagles would not get a hit with the bases loaded here, their time would come in the eighth.

Danny Lynch and Creek Robertson scored in the eighth after walking to start the inning. Wilks scored Lynch on his third RBI of the night with a sharp hit off a Beacon glove into right field. A wild pitch scored Robertson, but back-to-back walks by Parker and Sargent brought the Golden Eagles’ kryptonite. Southern Miss was 3-27 on the season with the bases loaded, but Reece Ewing changed that. He smoked a double in the gap in left center field, clearing the bases in the process to give Southern Miss 11 runs on the day.

After Justin Storm retired the side in the eighth inning, the Golden Eagles sent out Tyler Martin to try to shut the door on Valparaiso. Martin was shellacked, though, and he allowed four runs before being pulled before he could record the final out. Nick Monistere entered and allowed a single before striking out the final batter to end the game. It got a little interesting at the end, but the Southern Miss lead proved insurmountable.

Southern Miss advanced to 11-5, and they face a midweek test at Southeastern Louisiana Tuesday before opening conference play in a weekend series at Texas State beginning Friday.