Eagles rally in Pearl, beat Rebels

Published 11:16 am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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PEARL — Impressive comebacks are in vogue this week in Hattiesburg,

Its bats stifled for five-plus innings, Southern Miss exploded for four runs in the sixth and went on to beat in-state rival Ole Miss 5-3 Tuesday night at Trustmark Park.

It was the second straight game in which Southern Miss (13-12) came from behind to win. On Sunday, it rallied from six runs down to beat Texas-San Antonio 10-9 on a walk-off home run.

Overall, Southern Miss has won six of its last eight games.

“Coming off of Sunday, having to battle back from six runs down, having the dramatic finish, that was huge for us as far as tenor to get us on the right path,” said USM’s Bradley Roney, who had an RBI double and also earned the save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. “Then to come in against an opponent like Ole Miss, who is a top-10 team in the country, it just feels good to be able to beat a team like that, It gives us a lot of confidence going into this next weekend.”

The loss was a rare setback for Ole Miss (21-5), which had won four in a row, but also part of a couple of trends. The Rebels are just 6-10 all-time at Trustmark Park, and they’ve lost six of their last seven against Southern Miss.

The teams play again April 30 in Oxford. Ole Miss plays once more at Trustmark this season, April 22 in the annual Governor’s Cup game against Mississippi State.

“We’re playing rival games here in the middle of the week, and they’re tough games to win when you’re playing two good programs like Mississippi State and Southern Miss,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said in explaining his team’s troubles at Trustmark.

Ole Miss was in good shape for five innings Tuesday night. Starting pitcher Jeremy Massie retired eight batters in a row at one point, and struck out six in the first five innings.

The Rebels scored a pair of unearned runs in the third inning, and added another in the fourth on Dalton Dulin’s RBI single to take a 3-1 lead.

Massie ran into trouble in the sixth, though. He gave up a pair of singles, one of them on a bunt, before Dylan Burdeaux hit a shot back up the middle that caromed off of Massie’s leg.

The left-hander exited the game after throwing just 77 pitches.

“He was terrific. Last week he gave us a shot to win, but this week I thought he won the game. We just couldn’t get out of the sixth,” Bianco said.

Massie was replaced by Cheyne Bickel, who only faced one batter — Roney, who belted a game-tying RBI double to the gap in left center.

Bickel was then replaced by Evan Anderson, who surrendered a two-run single to Austin Roussel that put the Golden Eagles ahead 5-3.

“We had two really clutch hits right there,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “I’m very proud of our guys, how they grinded it out early. We had a miscue on the field that led to a couple of runs. To come back from that and continue to play hard, to find a way to win, is a testament to our team and the way we’ve played here of late.”

Ole Miss scored all of its runs off of starter Cody Carroll. Southern Miss reliever A.J. Glasshof and the closer Roney combined for five strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit over the last 3 1/3 innings.

Ole Miss only had two base runners after Dulin’s RBI single in the fourth inning, and totaled four hits in the game — two each by Dulin and Braxton Lee.

Glasshof (2-2) got the win, while Roney earned his seventh save of the season.

“Credit their guys. I thought they pitched really well tonight. Just in some counts, especially our top of the lineup guys, they just blew the ball by us. That was disappointing,” Bianco said. “I realize it was a little chilly, the wind was blowing in, it’s a tough offensive night, but it wasn’t like we hit balls well and the wind held them up. I thought they blew the ball by us.”

Mississippi State 3,

SE Missouri State 2

Demarcus Henderson’s base hit in the bottom of the ninth inning brought in Zack Randolph to give Mississippi State (18-9) a walk-off win over Southeast Missouri State (14-10).

Randolph, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, led off the ninth with a single. He was bunted to second base, then went to third on Henderson’s hit and hustled home when the ball got by center fielder Cole Bieser.

MSU closer Jonathan Holder worked the last two innings for the win. He and four other Bulldog pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts in the game.