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The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss vs Marshall series updates: Southern Miss walks off Marshall with a catcher’s interference in wild game

Dima Mixon
Lawson Odom (10) slides into home plate in the bottom of the 13th inning. He’s called out, but he scores on a catcher’s obstruction to walk off the game. – Dima Mixon

Southern Miss is hosting Marshall this weekend to open up the Sun Belt slate. Here are the game reports as they happen:


Game 1


Southern Miss opened conference play with an 8-4 series-opening victory over Marshall behind five RBIs from Davis Gillespie.

“I just saw the ball well tonight,” Gillespie said. “I felt really comfortable out there.”

After Nick Monsitere got the Golden Eagles on the board at the bottom of the first with an RBI-single, Gillespie doubled to the right field to plate two more Golden Eagle runs to put Southern Miss up 3-0 instantly.

Gillespie struggled to start the season, but now, it is becoming a critical piece of production for the Golden Eagle offense, so much so that last week, head baseball coach Christian Ostrander moved Gillespie over to first base to put his bat in the lineup.

“He was really impressive,” Ostrander said. That double in the first inning and then that backside home run were really impressive. He had a great night.”

Gillespie, a freshman, has only played at first one time in his high school days at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Alabama. He was surprised that he was called to play first but started taking reps there in practice a few weeks ago.

“I’ve been getting work there for a couple of weeks,” Gillespie said. “It’s an adjustment, but I’m starting to feel a little bit better over there.”

Other than a couple of errors that come with playing a new position, Gillespie has excelled at it and has solidified himself in that role with his defensive play and his bat.

In the bottom of the fifth, after Southern Miss plated a few more runs in the middle innings, Gillespie hit a slider down in the zone 369 feet to the opposite field for his second home run of the year.

An at-bat prior, Gillespie had hit the ball to the same spot but missed the home run. This time, he didn’t miss.

“It was a first-pitch slider,” Gillespie said. “It kind of hung up there, and I was ready to hit it.”

But Gillespie wasn’t done. In the bottom of the seventh, with the bases loaded, he picked up his fifth RBI of the night with an RBI single to plate USM’s last run of the game, making the score 8-4.

From the pitching side tonight, Niko Mazza got the start and earned the win moving him to 4-0 on the season. Mazza struck out a season high of 10 batters.

“The changeup was a good pitch for me tonight,” Mazza said. “Hasn’t been great coming into the season but definitely tonight it was a pitch that was working for me.”

He gave up a couple of runs, but nothing was too out of control. Kros Sivley came in for his relief, and Marshall was able to get something going against him.

Sivley had the bases loaded in the top of the ninth with two outs, and the tying run was at the plate. Ostrander visited the mound to talk to Sivley and told him to focus on getting the next guy out not the guys behind him, which he did with a groundout.

“I told him those two runs out there really don’t matter,” Ostrander said. “Don’t let them take away your focus on the mound.”

The win marked the first conference win for Ostrander as a head coach. Southern Miss improved to 12-6 and 1-0 in conference play with the victory.

They will look to take the series against Marshall tomorrow with a first pitch set for 2 PM in the school’s annual “Parrotthead Day”


Game 2: 

When Lawson Odom rounded third base after Ozzie Pratt singled in the bottom of the 13th inning, he focused on scoring the game’s winning run. He slid into home plate in the face of the Marshall’s catcher, mit, and was called out in a bang-bang play.

Southern Miss head coach Christian Ostrander challenged the ruling, thinking he was safe when, in fact, he was not. However, the umpires ruled a catcher’s obstruction on Marshall’s catcher, Owen Ayers, which in turn forced the Odom to score to walk off Marshall 2-1 in thirteen and clinch the series.

It was a very late reaction to a walk-off, thanks to the review, which took just over six minutes.

Ostrander said they challenged the ruling, thinking he was safe, but was happy to hear the decision.

“They said he was blocking the lane to the plate,” Ostrander said. “The rule is that you have to give him a clear lane to slide, and he was in the lane. Whether they got it right or wrong, I don’t know, but I’m glad with the call they made.”

Odom was just worried about running as hard as he could.

“I was just trusting Coach Creel and running as hard as I could,” Odom said. “I wasn’t the fastest, but I was giving it all I got.”

Odom was asked if he saw a catcher’s interference, and he replied:

“Not really, I was just trying to get around him.”

The walk-off win capped a wild game between the two ball clubs, where the first seven innings saw only three baserunners between the teams.

Both starting pitchers, Billy Oldham Jr. for Southern Miss and Bryce Blevins for Marshall, had no-hitters entering the eighth inning.

“Great game from the pitching side of it,” Ostrander said. “And defensively, it was a tough game offensively.”

In the top of the eighth inning, Elijah Vogelsong homered to right for the first hit for either side. Oldham had gotten behind in a 2-0 count and challenged Vogelsong with a fastball, and he was ready for it to give the Herd the 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Davis Gillespie lined a home run to RF that just got over the right field wall by a few feet to tie the game at one apiece.

Both hits ended the proverbial no-hitters for both starting pitchers. Oldham said that Jake Cook had told him both pitchers were throwing no-hitters in the seventh inning.

“I found out in the seventh inning when Jake Cook said it out loud,” Oldham said. “And then, both of the team’s immediate hit a home run.”

“I was joking with him [Cook], I told him ‘I’ll never forgive you for that’,” Oldham added.

After the solo shots by Vogelsong and Gillespie, the teams went four more scoreless innings in the 13th before Pratt’s walk-off victory.

Colby Allen came in after Oldham and pitched a gem in relief. He went for 4.1 Ip, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K’s, and 2 BB.

“Going to Colby in the ninth inning, I felt very comfortable with that,” Oldham said.

Southern Miss struck out 15 Herd batters, adding to the multiple games this season in which the pitching staff has had 10+ strikeouts.

Southern Miss will try to go for the series sweep tomorrow, something they have yet to do this season.

“We had a building block moment today of figuring out how to win an extra-inning game, a tough game,” Ostrander said. “We need to figure out another one, which is finishing the weekend off. They are going to be pretty upset tomorrow and come out and give it everything they got.”

The first pitch is set for 4 PM.

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