The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Russo walks off Nicholls with a three-run blast to complete Southern Miss rally

Jackson Kennedy
Matthew Russo smashes a 402-foot home run to walk-off Nicholls State 9-6.

Russo walks off Nicholls with a three-run blast to complete Southern Miss rally.

Pete Taylor Park magic still exists.

Before tonight, Southern Miss hadn’t seen a walk-off home run in the park since Matthew Etzel did it a year ago.

Matthew Russo changed that when he hit a three-run homer, propelling Southern Miss to a 9-6 victory over Nicholls State with a 402-foot blast off the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tied game. The ball traveled at 102 miles per hour.

“I made my mark at Pete Taylor Park,” Russo said. “I didn’t have a hit really all year until the Troy game whenever I got the walk-off double. I’m glad it happened, and I think it’s at the right time as well.”

Southern Miss baseball is coming off somewhat of an embarrassing showing in Georgia State last weekend. They got run-ruled in two games in a row before salvaging the series in a game where they had to rally after another sloppy start.

Russo made it clear that Sunday’s win and tonight’s win, especially in the fashion it could help spark Southern Miss to get that crucial hot streak.

“I think it came at the right time as well,” Russo said. “We get blown out in two games then have a good game on Sunday, we just need to catch that momentum and I’m hoping that sparks some momentum for the rest of the year.”

Southern Miss head coach Christian Ostrander agreed and spoke about the team’s resilience in the win after fighting back from trailing by four runs two separate times in the contest.

“I’m extremely proud of the guys and their resilience again,” Ostrander said. “They did it Sunday over at Georgia State after a terrible Friday and Saturday and then they [GSU] jump out to 6-1 lead after three and lot of folks probably thought they [USM] were dead in the water, but they came back then. And tonight, they showed that same resiliency and characteristic which good teams have to do.”

After the game started with back-to-back scoreless frames, Nicholls grabbed an early commanding lead in the second inning. After Southern Miss starting pitcher Drew Druckenmiller was able to collect the first two out of the innings he surrendered the game’s first walk.

After the walk, the Colonels collected five straight base hits with Kaden Amundson having two RBIs and Parker Coddou having one. Then a throwing error charged to Ozzie Pratt scored another run putting Nicholls up 4-0 in the second.

The Golden Eagles managed to scratch a run across in the second inning when Gabe Broadus batted in his tenth RBI of the season to make the score 4-1.

Southern Miss added another in the fourth when a wild pitch scored Nick Monistere to bring the lead down to 4-2.

But Nicholls responded in the fifth with a RBI-double to left field from Drake Anderson and an RBI-walk administrated by JB Middleton to put the Colonels back up four at 6-2.

Outside of the RBI-walk, Middleton had a very solid day in relief. He fanned five batters, including four in a row after the RBI-walk.

In the bottom of the fifth Monistere knocked a 350-foot three run home run to close the gap at 6-5. All the momentum seemed to be in Southern Miss’s favor.

But that all changed in the bottom of the sixth. Dalton McIntyre took a two-out base on balls and led off first before diving back into first which hurt his shoulder. McIntyre was down in pain for several minutes while a trainer and Christian Ostrander came out and was checking on him.

McIntyre eventually was helped off the field but could not really stand up straight. Chrisitan Ostrander said after the game that he had dislocated his shoulder, and he was in a sling on the field following the game.

If he were to be out for some significant time, it will be a huge loss for this team.

But the resilience in the team showed as they entered the final inning down a run. After Slade Wilks opened things with a double down the left field line and a Gillespie groundout, Carson Paetow drew a walk.

Monistere then collected his fourth RBI of the night with a single into center field to tie the game at six a piece.

Russo followed Monistere with his game winning three run home run.

Southern Miss improves 23-14, 9-6 and will host ULM (17-18, 5-10) this weekend at the Pete.

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