The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss rallies past Troy 6-5 to move into Saturday’s semifinals

Dima Mixon

MONTGOMERY, AL – Dalton McIntyre has registered 26 infield singles this season; not one of those was bigger than his go-ahead infield single to lift Southern Miss past Troy 6-5 in the Sun Belt Tournament winner’s bracket game.

“Honestly, I was just trying to move the ball,” McIntyre said. “In that situation, it’s two outs..bases are loaded, you want to give yourself a chance to get a run across. You don’t want to strikeout, you want to be able to move the ball. You never know what’s going to happen, and luckily I was able to move the ball in the right spot and Bull [Russo] was able to score,”  

Troy led the game for six and a half innings; Southern Miss could not get the big hit or the hit after a guy got on base. However, they stayed the course and eventually delivered in the game’s biggest moment with their backs against the wall.

“Really not a lot of words to put how proud we are of these young men and the fight that they have and the character that they have,” Southern Miss head coach Christian Ostrander said. “They never panic and they always stay in the middle of the ring and they did that tonight,”  

After not drawing a walk for the first seven innings, Slade Wilks and Nick Monistere drew walks in the eighth inning. Matthew Russo tied the game with a loud 2RBI double, finally giving them the hit they needed to score some runs. 

“Coach called us over and said we got six outs to get two runs and I was fortunate enough to get the big hit,” Russo said. 

With the bases loaded, McIntyre slapped a ball about nine feet barely to the pitcher’s mound and reached safely to score the go-ahead run.

“He [McIntyre] does his thing and he moves the ball and beats it out because he can’t get out on that,” Russo said.

“It’s unfortunate that it was a single and it went about nine feet,” Troy baseball head coach Skylar Meed said after the game. 

Troy seemed in control through the first seven and a half innings. Brooks Bryan put the Trojans up 1-0 in the first inning with an RBI single.

The Golden Eagles responded in the second inning when Monistere singled through the right side, and Russo doubled to bring him home. Seth Smith delivered an RBI single to put the Golden Eagles in front, followed by a Gabe Broadus RBI double to extend the lead to 3-1.

Troy did not blink, however, as they took the lead right back in the third inning. Will Butcher homered to right field to plate two runs and tie the game, and then Ben Arnett drew an RBI walk to put the Trojans back in front 4-3. 

“It was hard to get momentum,” Ostrander said. “We were able to get some momentum in the second inning and then they got it right back,” 

When starter Niko Mazza came out after three innings of work, the bullpen was tasked with keeping Southern Miss in the game. Southern Miss’s questions all season dealt with whether the bullpen could hold an opposing offense down in a tournament-like setting.

The answer tonight was a resounding yes.

First, Chandler Best came in to pitch after Mazza, did not give up a single hit and fanned three Trojan batters in two and two-thirds innings of work. Next, JB Middleton came in two and a half innings, only gave up a single hit and a walk, and also fanned three batters.

Josh Och got the ball in the top of the ninth inning. The true freshman calmly and collectly shut down Troy and earned his first save on the season. He struck out two in his appearance. 

“We had some guys go down and they knew they needed to step up,” Ostrander said. “Really since that time, I thought they have been outstanding.”

Southern Miss advances to the next round of the Sun Belt tournament with a lot of its bullpen left, not to mention getting the day off tomorrow. They have now moved to easily be the favorite to win the tournament, especially with Louisiana being eliminated earlier today. 

“It’s a big deal,” Ostrander said. “To win this tournament we are going to need a lot more special moments,” 

Southern Miss will play the winner of Troy and Appalachian State on Saturday at 9 AM. They will have to be beaten twice to be denied a second straight championship berth on Sunday afternoon. 

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