Southern Miss edges Auburn with late rally

Published 12:02 pm Monday, March 5, 2012

Thanks to a late rally, Southern Miss remained undefeated in the Southeastern Conference.

Southern Miss strung together three consecutive doubles in the top of the eighth inning Sunday to score two runs, break a tie, and beat Auburn 5-4 in the final game of the Auburn Tournament at Plainsman Park.

It was USM’s second win over an SEC team in less than a week, following a 14-2 rout of Alabama on Wednesday. The Golden Eagles have five midweek games left this season against SEC teams, with the next one at Alabama on March 13.

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Dillon Day went 2-for-5 with two runs scored for Southern Miss (8-4) against Auburn (7-6), while Blake Brown hit a solo homer and drove in another run with a bases-loaded walk.

Jay Gonzalez doubled in a run for Auburn in the sixth inning, and another run scored on an error on the play to tie the game at 3. It stayed that way until the eighth, when Southern Miss pieced together the winning rally.

Mason Robbins started it with a one-out double, and scored the go-ahead run on Connor Barron’s double off the right-center field wall. Barron then scored when Travis Creel doubled down the left field line to make it 5-3.

Robbins made his collegiate pitching debut in the bottom of the eighth and came up big again, striking out Dan Glevenyak to end a bases-loaded threat.

Auburn did get a run back in the ninth on Cullen Wacker’s solo home run, but never got the tying run on base. Bradley Roney came in to close the game and struck out all three batters he faced for his first save of the season.

James McMahon, the third of five Southern Miss pitchers, earned the win with 11⁄3 innings of scoreless relief.

USM’s pitchers walked nine batters in the game — five of them by starter Boomer Scarborough, who lasted just 42⁄3 innings — but Auburn stranded 14 runners. That put the capper on a disappointing weekend for Auburn, which lost two of its three games in its own tournament.