Bulldogs Fall to USM, 12-7

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss (28-13) scored five first-inning runs and made the early offense stand up, cruising to a 12-7 victory over Mississippi State (16-25) in college baseball action Wednesday night.

A Pete Taylor Park crowd of 4,464 watched as the Golden Eagles completed a two-game midweek sweep of the Bulldogs. Southern Miss has now won four straight series meetings on its home playing suface.

Both pitching staffs struggled again Wednesday night. The two teams combined for 18 walks a hit batsman in the series finale, after issuing 16 walks and hitting three batters in Southern Miss' 11-7 win Tuesday night.

The Eagles sprinted to a 7-0 lead Wednesday night, scoring five runs in the first inning and twice more in the second inning. MSU climbed back to a 7-3 deficit two innings later. The Eagles then pushed the lead back out with two runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

In the Southern Miss first inning, Bo Davis hit the second pitch of his at-bat for a solo home run - his second of the season. Brian Dozier, James Ewing, Trey Cuevas drew consecutive walks. A wild pitch scored Dozier. Another walk to Michael Ewing re-loaded the bases and ended the day for MSU starting pitcher Drew Hollinghead. Relief pitcher Forrest Moore faced Drew Carson to start his day. Carson reached on an infield error, allowing two more runs to score. Adam Doleac hit a ground out, which brought Michael Ewing home with the inning's final run.

The Eagles stretched the lead with two more scores in the second inning. Brian Dozier opened the inning with a single. After a popup, Cuevas reached as a hit batsman. Michael Ewing drew a walk to load the bases. Drew Carson then beat out a bunt attempt for an RBI infield single. A sacrifice fly by Chris Matesich extended the lead to 7-0.

In the MSU third inning, the Bulldogs broke up the shutout with an RBI-single by Tyler Moore. An inning later, Grant Hogue started a two-run at-bat with a one-out single. After Hogue recorded stolen base No. 22, Ryan Collins drew a walk. Russ Sneed followed with an RBI-single to center field. Another RBI-single by Moore brought the Bulldogs within 7-3.

Southern Miss answered with two of their own in the home half of the fourth inning. James Ewing started things with a single. After a strikeout and groundout, Carson slapped his eighth home run of the year - a two-run shot to left field.

The Eagles scored twice again in the fifth inning. Doleac started things with a single to right field. Davis also followed with a hit. Dozier then laced an RBI-double down the right field line. A sacrifice-fly by James Ewing capped that inning and extended the advantage to 11-4.

The Bulldogs scored a lone run in the sixth inning on back-to-back doubles by Collins and Cody Freeman.

Southern Miss got that run right back when Michael Ewing hit his sixth home run of the year - a solo shot to lead off the home half of the sixth inning.

MSU scored three times in the seventh inning. Brooks Lewis and Ryan Powers started the inning with back-to-back doubles down the left field line. Powers' hit scored Lewis, while a groundball out Powers home to score. Andy Rice then drew a walk and Sneed singled. A wild pitch plated Rice and closed the MSU scoring in that at-bat.

Hollinghead (1-1) drew the start for MSU. The sophomore right-hander did not record an out, allowing a leadoff home run to Bo Davis and then issuing four straight walks before leaving the game. Moore completed the first inning and threw three additional frames. Moore allowed five hits and four runs (all earned), with two walks and four strikeouts. Michael Busby threw the fifth inning, allowing three hits and two runs (both earned), with no walks and one strikeouts. Ricky Bowen, John Lalor and Aaron Weatherford threw an inning apiece to complete MSU's mound duty.

Brian Leach drew the start for Southern Miss. Leach lasted 3-1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs (all earned), with seven walks and two strikeouts. J.R. Ballinger (3-0) threw three innings and earned the win. Ballinger allowed six hits and three runs (two earned), with two walks and two strikeouts. Collin Cargill and Tyler Conn each threw 1-1/3 innings apiece to complete the contest.

MSU finished with 11 hits. Collins, Sneed and Moore had multiple hits for the Bulldogs.

Southern Miss finished with 12 hits. Carson had three hits and four RBI, while Davis also had three hits for the Golden Eagles.

The Bulldogs return home to host the Tennessee Volunteers this weekened in Southeastern Conference play. MSU and UT scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.

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