Courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics
Southern Miss broke a deadlock score in the opening game with back-to-back homers from Charlie Fischer and Christopher Sargent, while Ben Ethridge threw a complete-game shutout in the nightcap to lead the Golden Eagles in a Conference USA twinbill sweep, 6-5 and 3-0, over WKU Saturday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park.
The Golden Eagles (26-12 overall, 12-5 in C-USA) continued a solid month of April as they now have won 12 of 15 games this month.
In the opening game, the Golden Eagles jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage.
Andrew Stanley got Southern Miss on the board with a second-inning RBI single through the left side, scoring Sargent who opened the frame with an infield single. The Golden Eagles added a pair of runs in the third. With one out, Reed Trimble singled and then scored one batter later from first on a Fischer RBI double to left-center field.
The Hilltoppers (18-21, 8-11) tied the game at 3-3 with a fourth-inning run-scoring single from Kevin Lambert and Richard Constantine followed with a run-scoring single in the fifth with a Golden Eagle throwing error allowing another run to score on the play to tie the game.
The Golden Eagles took the lead for good in the bottom half of the stanza. After Trimble was hit by a pitch to start the frame, Fischer laced WKU starter Sean Bergeron’s pitch over the centerfield wall for his sixth homer of the campaign. The next batter, Sargent, then homered to center for his seventh round-tripper of the year.
The Hilltoppers got solo runs in the final two frames, including a seventh-inning homer from Constantine, his first of the year, to close the gap.
Southern Miss starting pitcher Walker Powell (6-2) gave up three runs (two earned) on two walks and four strikeouts with eight hits over five innings to earn the victory. Hurston Waldrep threw the final two frames to garner his first save.
In the nightcap, Ethridge limited the Hilltoppers to just three hits and fanned 11 with no walks to breeze to the victory and improve to 4-1.
The Golden Eagles scored all three runs in the opening frame as Gabe Montenegro opened the first with a double. After a wild pitch and a strikeout, Fischer walked, and Sargent drove in a run with a single. After another walk to Reece Ewing, Fischer scored from third on an errant throw by WKU catcher Ricardo Leonett on a failed pick off. The last run came courtesy of on an RBI single from Danny Lynch.
After hitting the first batter of the game and allowing a single in the second with back-to-back one-base hits in the third, Ethridge retired the last 14 batters he faced in the contest.
It was the second time this season he registered double-digit strikeouts as he whiffed six of the final 12 batters he faced. Ethridge tossed the first complete-game shutout for the squad this season as it was the team’s fifth overall.
The Golden Eagles go for the sweep Sunday as the two teams complete the four-game series with a 1 p.m. contest.
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