Auburn blasts Southern Miss

Published 12:09 pm Monday, June 7, 2010

AUBURN, Ala. — Hunter Morris hit a grand slam, Trent Mummey homered and drove in five runs and Auburn beat Southern Miss 17-8 on Saturday to stay alive in the Tigers’ home regional.

Auburn (42-20) still had to beat Clemson later Sunday and will have again tonight to advance to a super regional.

The Golden Eagles (35-24), who made it to the College World Series last season, went 1-2 and allowed 33 runs after winning the Conference USA tournament.

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“We didn’t finish what we set out to accomplish, but we did make an eighth straight regional and win a conference tournament along the way,” Southern Miss second baseman Taylor Walker said.

The loss was also disappointing to Minnesota Vikings fans. Southern Miss alum and Vikings quarterback Brett Favre had told the Golden Eagles team that he’d return for another season in the NFL if they made the return trip to Omaha.

Mummey hit a three-run shot in the fifth, doubled twice and walked. Casey McElroy had a three-run homer and Brian Fletcher added a solo shot for Auburn. SEC Player of the Year Morris had three hits, including a double, and set Auburn’s single-season home run record with No. 23 in the fourth. Southern Miss led 6-5 before that bases-loaded blast easily cleared the right-field fence and started the rout.

“It was one of those big hits that we had been hoping for,” Tigers coach John Pawlowski said. “He’s done that time and time again.”

Auburn, which leads the nation in homers, poured on 10 runs over the next two innings.

“They’re a very good offensive club,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “They’ve made a lot of people pay for mistake pitches, and we were one of them.”

The Tigers put the first seven batters on in the fifth, including Mummey’s three-run shot to right, and had six runs.

Reliever Bradley Hendrix (4-2) allowed two runs over 51⁄3 innings for Auburn before running out of gas and exiting with nobody out in the ninth. Southern Miss had jumped on starter Cole Nelson for five runs in the first.

“I just tried to prevent the big innings, just get us back in the dugout,” said Hendrix, who allowed seven hits and four walks but only two runs. “We were getting runs every inning.”

B.A. Vollmuth and Joey Archer both homered for the Golden Eagles, who had 15 hits. Archer went 4-for-5 while Travis Graves drove in four runs, three of them on a bases-loaded double in the first. Vollmuth had three hits and three RBIs.

The Golden Eagles put the first four batters on base in the ninth, scoring on Archer’s solo shot. But reliever Stephen Kohlscheen got Tyler Koelling to hit into the team’s fourth double play and struck out Kameron Brunty.

“We battled even to the last out,” Berry said. “We really never gave up.”