Southern Miss wins the 2023 Auburn Regional, advances to second straight Super Regional.


Sean Smith

#40 Scott Berry gets showered after winning the Auburn Regional.

The farewell season continues for Scott Berry and his Southern Miss Golden Eagles after beating Penn 11-7 on Monday afternoon to send Southern Miss to their second straight Super Regional. The Golden Eagles needed to win four games in a row to achieve this after losing the opening round to Samford, and they did so. Beating Auburn on Saturday, beating Samford and Penn on Sunday, and then today beating Penn again to win the regional.

“I’m proud of our guys. We win a second regional. We had to do it the hard way, just like last year got in the loser’s bracket and had to find out who we were. I couldn’t be more proud of our team of how they stayed the course. We talk a lot about how steady wins the race.” Berry said.

The Golden Eagles got down as many as four runs in the game early, but they never lost heart and battled to come back and take control of the game.

“A sportswriter once said: If you ever going to war, you better pick Southern Miss first. Because they don’t quit, they know how to sweat; they know how to work hard. They don’t quit in their fight. That’s exactly what I told them today this is what we are, and this is who we are, and this is what we are going to live up to. Certainly, we did that today.’ Berry said.

Southern Miss made a bold start on the mound in Tanner Hall, given he had just thrown 125 pitches a few days earlier. However, he gave Southern Miss a solid two innings giving up two unearned runs. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the second, Southern Miss was able to respond instantly when Rodrigo Montenegro came through with an RBI single to make the score 2-1.

Luke Trahan came in to pitch in the third for USM, and things got a bit out of hand in the fourth. Penn came up with three doubles in a row and then a single to take the lead 5-1. But that lead did not last long.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Southern Miss put two men on base to lead off the inning. This started a four-run rally to tie the game at five a piece. Nick Monistere, Rodrigo Montenegro, Matthew Etzel, and Dustin Dickerson all came up with RBIs in that frame. However, USM stranded the bases loaded and could not take the lead.

“Getting down 5-1, there was some huge turning points…we stayed resilient, brought it back in the middle of the ring and kept punching. And then we were final able to get the final blow there late in the game.” Berry said.

Billy Oldham came in to pitch for Southern Miss and put up three innings of no-run baseball to give Southern Miss time to take their first lead of the game.

“Tremendous job. He [Oldham] gave us those three innings and he was done. That’s all he could do. All of these guys are running on fumes but they are all on a mission.” Berry said.

Southern Miss took the lead for the first time and for good in the bottom of the sixth inning. Dickerson blasted a three-run 396-foot home run over the left field wall that left the ballpark at 101 MPH.

Dickerson has five home runs in the past six games. That is a ridiculous stat.

“I’m looking for pitch to swing at and I am putting a good swing on it, and it’s going over the fence.” Dickerson said.

This put the score at 8-5, but the Quakers got two back in the top of the seventh on Southern Miss pitcher Colby Allen.

So, Christian Ostrander put Will Armistead on the mound to close the game. Armistead has become a brutal pitcher out of the pen for Southern Miss, and that did not change today, putting up 2.2 innings of no-run baseball to keep Penn honest.

“Everybody’s arm hurts, everybody is tired, everybody is hungry and just feels terrible but so what. You’ve got a job to do as a player and that’s to leave everything on the line for your team and that’s what our pitching staff did this weekend.” Armistead said.

Armistead’s stuff has been filthy, and he, along with what Niko Mazza and Justin Storm have been doing out of the pen makes this team really dangerous in relief.

Southern Miss added some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, with Danny Lynch coming up with an RBI single and Carson Paetow adding two more with a two-rbi double.

Armistead closed down the ninth to seal the deal.

“They understand the expectation at Southern Miss, and it’s not to get to a regional, it’s to win a regional.” Berry said.

Who will host the Super Regional?

Southern Miss will be playing in the Super Regionals against Tennessee. Both teams hosted a Super Regional last season, and both fell short of making the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Tennessee is 41-19 and 16-14 in the SEC; they are coming off sweeping the Clemson Regional.

Southern Miss is 44-18 and 22-8 in the SBC and won a conference tournament championship and was one game from winning both the conference tournament title and regular season title. Regarding RPI, Tennessee is No. 12, and Southern Miss is No. 18.

The NCAA committee will decide whether Tennessee or Southern Miss will host and announce the decision at 10 AM ET on Tuesday. Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg also had more fans last year at their respective Super Regional than Tennessee did at theirs.

So, I think it’s a toss-up, but we will find out tomorrow.

But the players and the fans know they are two wins away from sending Scott Berry to eastern Nebraska. This is for him.

“For the whole year we have been doing it for him. Ever since he told us he was going to retire after this year, I would be lying if I said our motivation wasn’t to keep his season going send him off with a bang.” Monistere said.

But Berry, humble as always, says it is about the players.

“I’m humbled they say that. But that’s not what I want, I want it to be about them.” Berry said.