Herd Falls To No. 28 So. Miss, 12-8

For the second day in a row, the Thundering Herd baseball team jumped out to a lead on the No. 28-ranked Golden Eagles of Southern Miss. But on Saturday night, USM had the five and four run innings in the middle of the game to take a 10-6 lead after five innings and cruised to a 12-8 win over Marshall. The Herd is 24-23-1, 10-9-1 in Conference USA while USM is 33-15, 10-7 in league play.

For Marshall, they won even though they lost. Thanks to a Tulane win over UCF in New Orleans on Saturday, the Herd clinched its second trip to the Conference USA Tournament, also held in "The Big Easy" May 21-25. MU did not make the tourney in 2007, and was two-and-out in the 2006 tournament in the Herd's first year in C-USA for baseball. Also today, East Carolina swept UAB, 17-1 and 8-7, while Houston topped Memphis. The Green Wave is 10-5-1 in league play and is second to Rice, while ECU is now 11-7, UH and Southern Miss are both 10-7 and Marshall is 10-9-1. Memphis fell to 4-12, UCF 5-15 and UAB 4-13.

Marshall touched up Southern Miss starter Todd McInnis with eight hits and four earned runs through 2.1 innings to take a 4-1 lead. But Golden Eagles' coach Corky Palmer went to the bullpen with much more success than Friday night's 16-10 Herd win as Collin Cargill came in to shut the door on the Herd while the Southern Miss offense got going in the fourth. Cargill pitched 4.2 innings, giving up two runs on one hit, walking four and striking out one to improve to 4-0 on the season.

Victor Gomez, the freshman DH for the Herd, was 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs batted in and a run scored on Saturday night in the Marshall loss to Southern Miss, 12-10, in Charleston, W.Va. file photo from HerdZone.com

Marshall was led, again, by Victor Gomez and Tommy Johnson who drove in four runs on a combined 5-of-9 night at the plate. Gomez, the freshman designated hitter, was 2-for-4 with three runs batted in and his third double of the weekend. Johnson, one of five seniors who will be honored on Senior Day Sunday before the Noon start, was 3-for-5 in the contest. Adam Yeager, the Huntington High product who transferred to Marshall from the University of Cincinnati, was 2-for-3 in the leadoff spot, walking twice and scoring three runs.

Yeager also had three stolen bases in the game, stretching out his lead in that category in Conference USA to 34 steals on the year. Josh Valle was 1-for-2, also reaching on a walk and being hit by a pitch, and scored two runs for the Herd.

Marshall starter Andrew Blain pitched out of trouble for four innings, picking up a double play and allowing only a single run in the first through three. The fourth inning, however, was a different matter as Southern Miss scored five runs to take a 6-4 lead. The Golden Eagles saw the Herd rally for two in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 6-6 before USM added four more runs in the top of the fifth to run Blain. The Herd sophomore was charged with 4.1 innings, eight hits, five walks and seven runs, all earned. Ian Kadish pitched a third of the innings, allowing three more runs on four hits and a walk, giving way to Andrew Hancock. The senior closed the inning and pitched well in relief, allowing just one run on two hits in 3.1 innings pitched.

Southern Miss had three monster home runs by James Ewing (3-for-5 with five RBI and also a triple), Trey Sutton (3-for-6, three RBI) and Chris Matesich (2-for-5 with an RBI), and two of those shots cleared the scoreboard in left-center field. Catcher Kevin Winstead was 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI. Also pitching for USM was Wade Weathers, a one-hit, two-run eighth, and closer Tyler Conn, who allowed a hit and a walk with no runs in the ninth in just his third inning of work in the last eight days.

Marshall and Southern Miss will play the rubber game at Noon on Sunday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va., the home of the Milwaukee Brewers Class A South Atlantic League team, the West Virginia Power, who is out-of-town at Hagerstown. Marshall will honor its five seniors before the Noon start: Johnson, Hancock, Jeff Rowley, Matt Helm and Adam Dobies. Sunday game will be exclusively heard on ESPN 930-AM, WRVC in Huntington, but a pod cast of the game is available at the end of the contest at www.wrvc.am on the web.

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