The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss wins series against Marist to open 2024 campaign, but denied sweep.

Dima Mixon

Southern Miss baseball took on Marist during the opening weekend of the 2024 baseball season. They opened the first two days with wins against the Red Foxes, but Marist rebounded and took Game 3 of the three-game set to deny USM the sweep.

Here is each game recap:


Game 1

Christian Ostrander got his first win as the head coach of Southern Miss baseball with a 4-1 victory over Marist to begin the 2024 campaign.

It was not the prettiest of baseball games, but no game one is ever perfect. Southern Miss was outhit 7-2 but managed to scratch across several runs in some crucial moments to secure the victory.

The win marked the tenth straight opening-day victory for the Golden Eagles.

“It’s a lot of emotions obviously,” Ostrander said when asked what getting his first win meant to him. “It’s not easy to win a baseball game it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. They have a good team over there.”

Niko Mazza started the day on the mound and delivered the game’s first pitch just past four o’clock.

Mazza posted a line of 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB with eight strikeouts. His fastball was sitting up in the mid 90s with a disgusting changeup that fanned most of his batters.

“I felt really good tonight,” Mazza said. “They have a good lineup, a veteran lineup. Tough hitters to face but Lawson did a great job behind the plate.”

Mazza has been developing over the past few seasons to get his shot at being the Friday night ace, and he delivered more than anyone expected.

“I thought Niko was great,” Ostrander said. “Eight strikeouts, no walks through five plus innings is exactly what I wanted.”

Some of the position battles that were up for grabs were answered tonight. The first was Lawson Odom getting the start at catcher in a hotly contested matchup.

Odom delivered well behind the plate, playing solid defense. He was not so much on the offensive side, going 0-2, but he drew a couple of walks.

Another hotly contested position battle was first base, which ultimately went to Matthew Russo. Russo drew a couple of walks and struck out tonight but played very well at first base for the Golden Eagles.

Ostrander did not know that the battle at first was close and that all nine players in the lineup will continue to have to give him reasons to keep them in the lineup.

“It was close,” Ostrander said about first base. “To me, I don’t think there was a right answer or a wrong answer there. I gave him [Russo] that opportunity.”

The two hits tonight came from Carson Paetow on a pop-fly that dropped in no man’s land for an RBI.

The other came from newcomer Ozzie Pratt, who had a 2RBI-triple in the first inning. It was his first hit as a Golden Eagle and his first RBIs as a Golden Eagle.

“It was awesome,” Pratt said. “It kind of just hyped everybody up, it was awesome. My head went blank, I didn’t even know if I hit it until I got to third.”

Pratt also said he prefers being at Pete Taylor Park over at BYU, where he transferred from.

All in all, it’s not a perfect game by any means for Southern Miss. However, as always in baseball, a win is a win, and you take it no matter what it looks like.


Game 2

It was a brutally chilly night at Pete Taylor Park, but that did not stop Southern Miss baseball from taking care of Marist 10-5.

“Proud of the win,” Southern Miss baseball head coach Christian Ostrander said. “I thought our guys finally put some crooked numbers up in there offensively, we needed that. I still feel like we let them off the hook a little bit, we had some opportunities to extend that lead a little bit earlier.”

Billy Oldham started on the mound for the Golden Eagles, and the Red Foxes got to him early. Bayram Hot got himself a two-out single in the top of the first, followed by Ethan Conrad picking himself up an RBI triple to put Marist up 1-0 in the top of the first.

However, their lead would not last long when Gabe Broadus singled over the second baseman for his first hit as a Golden Eagle. Slade Wilks singled, and Nick Monistere tied the game with a sac-fly RBI.

Ozzie Pratt continued his first-inning magic with an RBI double to give Southern Miss the lead for good. Then, Davis Gillespie came up with his first colligate hit and RBI when he singled to center field to make the score 3-1.

Oldham settled in after giving up the run in the first to retire the next five batters and did not allow a run until the fifth inning from a Colin Mackle home run.

“I was frustrated with myself for letting that run happen,” Oldham said. “I just focused up like Coach Oz says before every pitch, just focus up and execute it; I think I did that.”

Oldham finished the day with a line of 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, and 7 K’s. The outing earned him his first win of the season.

“I think Billy was Billy,” Ostrander said. “On a cold night sometimes it’s hard to get a feel of all of your stuff. He made a couple of mistakes that they capitalized on. But you know, that’s part of it and you got to learn from it.”

After several walks in the third inning, Nolan Tucker picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice because the Marist catcher did not have his foot on the bag to score 4-1 in favor of USM.

After the homerun by Mackle, the Eagles answered with a sac-fly RBI from Tucker to score Matthew Russo to give USM a 5-2 lead.

The sixth inning is when the wheels fell off for Marist. They walked three straight batters, two of these being for RBIs. Russo reached on a fielding error when the Marist center fielder dropped his pop-fly, scoring another run.

“Sometimes baseball is tough but I knew it was coming,” Ostrander said.

Finally, Pratt scored on a wild pitch to put USM up 9-2 going into the seventh.

They would add one more run in the bottom of the seventh when Wilks picked up a fielder’s choice RBI to make the score 10-2.

Marist added some runs in the top of the ninth as Jake Cook struggled to get the final out but eventually did on a pop-fly.

Southern Miss will be going for the series sweep tomorrow at 1 PM.

Game 3

Marist outhit, out schemed and outplayed Southern Miss on their way to stunning the Golden Eagles 6-3 in the series finale.

“Disappointed,” Southern Miss head coach Christian Ostrander said. “I really think that we had plenty of opportunities to be in this game. Had a chance to win the game but we just didn’t capitalize.”

The Golden Eagles (2-1) finished the day with just four hits and 12 runners left on base. Six of those runners came in the eighth and ninth innings. Southern Miss left the bases loaded in both innings, which sealed the deal for the Red Foxes.

“We didn’t capitalize,” Ostrander said, “We left 12 guys on base.”

Despite having so many players on base, Southern Miss could never get a barrel to a ball, either. With just four hits in the entire contest, the Red Fox’s starting pitcher, Will Taylor, sat down USM several times to not allow the Golden Eagles back into the game.

“We never could get anything going offensively,” Ostrander said. “I tip my hat off to those guys. They outplayed us, and I hate to say that, but they outplayed us today in all areas.”

Marist (1-2) scored in the opening inning for the second straight day. Lewis Rodriguez singled to open the game off Golden Eagle starter Kros Sivley. Johnny Decker picked up an RBI triple to plate the game’s first run. Bayram Hot batted Decker in with a fielder’s choice RBI to put Marist up 2-0 coming out of the top of the first inning.

Southern Miss answered quickly as Carson Paetow led off with a triple, and Gabe Broadus brought him home with a fielder’s choice RBI.

However, the Red Foxes got to Sivley again when Marco Ali batted in two runs to extend the Marist lead to 4-1 in the top of the third inning.

That would be it for Sivley (0-1), who went 2.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB and three strikeouts. He suffered the loss in today’s matchup.

“I think their [Marist] approach was really good,” Ostrander said on Sivley’s outing. “I really thought their right-handed hitters were staying on the inside of the ball and using the backside, which is exactly what they need to do against him.”

The Golden Eagles were able to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Tucker Stockman nailed his first colligate home run right over the “tradition of excellence” sign. The ball traveled 107 miles per hour and 399 feet to bring the score to 4-2.

The Red Foxes did not blink. They got the run back in the top of the sixth inning to put the score at 5-2.

“The thing that really stook out to me about their hitters was that they weren’t worried about hitting over your head,” Ostrander said. “They were fine with just hitting that single back up the middle or backside and they did that.”

Broadus got one back with a fielder’s choice RBI in the seventh, but Marist scored another in the top of the ninth thanks to a passed ball.

As mentioned, Southern Miss had bases loaded in both the eighth and ninth innings, leaving them loaded both times.

“I knew there would be some growing pains with so many new guys at relatively new positions,” Ostrander said. “But we are not going to make excuses. Every game matters, what our standards are and where we are trying to get to, every game matters.”

Southern Miss was outhit in every game this weekend. Their three returning players in Wilks, Paetow and Monistere went a combined 5-26 over the weekend.

Southern Miss still won the series, but a loss on Sunday always leaves, as former head coach Scott Berry used to say, “a bad taste in your mouth.”

Southern Miss will try to get that bad taste out tomorrow at 4 PM against the Air Force Academy.

Ostrander announced that Will Armistead will get the start on the bump for the Golden Eagles.

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