USM tops Houston in wild finish

Published 12:03 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

No matter what happens this weekend, Southern Miss’ hopes of winning the regular-season championship in Conference USA will likely come down to next weekend’s series against Rice.

Victories like the one the Golden Eagles got Friday, however, can make the job a little easier.

B.A. Vollmuth singled in a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning to give Southern Miss the lead, and Collin Cargill escaped a jam in the bottom half to preserve a wild 6-5 victory.

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Southern Miss (37-11, 15-4 Conference USA) scored twice in the eighth inning to take the lead, then gave up two in the bottom of the eighth to fall behind again before finally going ahead to stay on Vollmuth’s two-out hit.

It’s the fifth straight victory for Southern Miss, and the second in a row where the winning runs came in its final at-bat.

Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, USM took the lead on an RBI single by Marc Bourgeois — only to fall behind again when Chase Jensen doubled in the tying run and later scored on an error in the bottom half.

USM stormed right back in the ninth, however. After loading the bases with one out, Tyler Koelling popped out to second. Vollmuth then fell behind in the count 0-2 before singling up the middle to plate two runs.

Southern Miss added an insurance run when Kameron Brunty scored as part of a double steal. It was crucial.

Houston (22-26, 9-10) loaded the bases with no outs and plated a run on an error to cut it to 6-5. Cargill loaded the bases again with an intentional walk, then struck out Jensen for the first out.

With the tying run still just 90 feet away, Ansley hit a grounder to third. Vollmuth came home with the throw and cut down Caleb Ramsey for the second out. Cargill then got John Cannon to ground to short, where Ashley Graeter threw to second for a game-ending fielder’s choice.