By: Dima Mixon
Southern Miss dropped their second game in the Conference USA tournament 7-6 to the UTSA Roadrunners.
“Back and forth game and we just didn’t play well enough and a complete game to win it against a really good UTSA team,” Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry said.
In this winner’s bracket game, Southern Miss had to battle back practically the entire game. In the top of the third inning, UTSA pushed two runs across the plate, including one run that was a very close play at home plate. The crowd thought he was out, but Berry thought differently. “I thought he was safe,” Berry said.
With a 2-0 lead and Southern Miss with no hits, Will McGillis walked and Blake Johnson homered to left field to tie the game at two apiece.
There would be no scoring until the top of the sixth inning when Chase Keng got a one-out single and Garrett Poston came up with a two-out RBI double.
However, Southern Miss would respond again, leading off the bottom of the sixth with a Gabe Montenegro single. Following Montenegro, Reece Ewing would plate him with a ground-rule double. Christopher Sargent would bat him in with an RBI single of his own.
Slade Wilks would continue the offensive explosion with an RBI single of his own and Southern Miss would lead 5-3.
Then it would be UTSA’s turn to respond. In the top of the seventh, they would come up with two hits and two runs, one unearned thanks to an error by Ewing. The game would be tied 5-5 going into the eighth inning.
In the top of the eighth, UTSA broke the tie by coming up with back-to-back doubles, both coming on two outs. Those doubles would give them the lead 6-5.
The Golden Eagles would respond in the bottom of the eighth with a Danny Lynch double. Charlie Fischer would come in and steal third on a very close play. McGillis would score following a sac-fly RBI to tie the game at six runs apiece.
UTSA would come up with the game’s final run on a solo shot by Ryan Flores in the top of the ninth. Southern Miss had walked Flores earlier in the game and there was some debate about whether they should have walked him there.
“That was not discussed,” Berry said.
Southern Miss will now have to fight their way out of the winner’s bracket and they will have to win three games in a row.
“It’s like eating a bad steak. You put it behind you. It’s not like you don’t eat steak anymore. You go eat another one. That’s what we got to do right now,” Berry said.
Southern Miss will play FAU next to try to get into the semifinals.