Southern Miss drops opening round of the Auburn Regional in 4-2 decision against Samford

AUBURN, Ala – Hearing the crowd chant your name headed off the mound in the ninth usually means your team has locked up a win assisted by your impressive outing. This was not the case for Southern Miss starting pitcher Tanner Hall when he walked off the mound in the top of the ninth inning with the game still tied at one run apiece. Hall’s career day was not enough to get Southern Miss past Samford in the opening round of the Auburn Regional, losing 4-2.

“Tough game today. A pitcher’s battle through nine innings, both starters really hooked up well. And they [Samford] got a real big stop out of their reliver.” Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said.

Hall threw a video game-like career-high 123 pitches on 9 IP, 9 K’s, 2 BB, 1 ER, and 8 H. He proved himself again to be one of the best pitchers in the country and one of the greatest pitchers in USM history. But today, he got zero help from the offense.

“We can’t point any fingers” Hall said.

Granted, Samford’s starter was excellent too. Locking down Southern Miss in the first six innings, only giving up five hits and one earned run.

“I thought we had great at bats all day. You know we didn’t get a big hit, we had bases loaded multiple innings and we didn’t get the big hit. It happens sometimes, hopefully we get the big hit tomorrow,” Southern Miss shortstop Dustin Dickerson said.

Samford’s starter Jacob Cravey went 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, and 5 K’s, but after him, Ben Petschke went 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, and three strikeouts.

“[Cravey] was a really good arm, the guy out of the bullpen was really good as well kept us off balance. Yeah, we just didn’t get the big hit.” Dickerson said.

The Bulldogs took the lead early in the third inning thanks to an RBI double by Garrett Staton. USM managed to get out of there, only allowing one run due to a heads-up play by Danny Lynch gunning down a runner headed home on a fielder’s choice.

Southern Miss managed to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth; Dickerson came up with a sac-fly RBI to tie the score at one apiece. It would stay that way until the top of the tenth inning.

Southern Miss pitcher Justin Storm gave up a leadoff home run, and then two more runs were plated by the Bulldogs in the top of the tenth. Southern Miss threatened in the bottom of the tenth with bases loaded and no outs but only managed to score one run.

Southern Miss falls into the loser’s bracket now and will face the loser of Auburn – Penn. Every game from now on, Southern Miss will be facing elimination.

“It’s something that gets the sense of urgency going. We know it’s do or die now, everything is going to fall together and we are going to play as hard as we possibly can. Not saying we didn’t play as hard as we could today, but having that in the back of your mind knowing your season could end definitely makes you want to get things done.” Hall said.

The last time Southern Miss lost an opening round of the NCAA Regional was in 2021 when they lost 5-2 to Florida State. They went on to force a Game 7 with Ole Miss.

“We are going to draw strength on those experiences of being able to win. There’s nothing more to me that motivates you then knowing you can’t lose. That’s not pressure, that’s motivation to go out and lock in and have an attitude with a purpose when you take that field tomorrow.” Berry said.

USM takes the field tomorrow at 2 PM.