USM stays hot with sweep of Charlotte

Published 10:25 am Monday, May 11, 2015

Southern Miss has been stuck in the middle of the Conference USA standings for much of the season, and that’s not likely to change in the final weekend.

The week after that, however, when the C-USA Tournament comes to Hattiesburg, the Golden Eagles might be the best team around.

James McMahon allowed one run in six scoreless innings, Chuckie Robinson hit two home runs, and Southern Miss won its ninth consecutive game by beating Charlotte 9-0 Sunday afternoon.

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It was the fourth shutout thrown by Southern Miss’ pitching staff in the last six games. In six of the nine wins during the current streak, it has allowed two runs or fewer.

“We’re playing good baseball right now,” said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry. “We’re playing hard and attacking the game. Obviously, we’re getting great outings from our starting pitching and our bullpen’s performing pretty well. Offensively, I’ve got to credit those guys. They’re doing the things we need to do to score runs.”

Southern Miss (31-16-1, 16-10 C-USA) finishes the regular season with a three-game series at Middle Tennessee (29-22, 19-8) beginning on Thursday.

USM is currently in fourth place in the standings and can get as high as the No. 2 seed for the eight-team C-USA tournament May 20-24 at Pete Taylor Park.

At this rate, it’ll be a heavy favorite.

McMahon (10-1) allowed one hit and two walks during his six innings on the mound and struck out four. He didn’t allow a hit until Brett Netzer singled with two outs in the sixth inning.

Relievers Connor O’Brien, Christian Talley and Clay Tageant combined to allow one hit and no walks, and struck out four over the last three innings.

“I didn’t even think about (the no-hitter) until the inning I gave up the hit,” McMahon said. “I went out in the sixth, I looked up, I had walked a couple of people, we had an error, you think about stuff, the no-hitter, then that inning I gave up the hit. I shouldn’t have thought about it.”

On the offensive end, Robinson hit two solo home runs and added a sacrifice fly to finish with three RBIs. It was the first multiple-homer game of the sophomore’s college career.

“My senior year in high school was the last time I hit two bombs in a game,” Robinson said. “It feels good. Both (home run) pitches were down the middle, both fastballs. The first home run felt better than the second.”

Matt Durst also hit a solo home run for Southern Miss, which finished with 14 hits. Durst and Robinson went back-to-back in the second inning to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead.

Dylan Burdeaux drove in two runs with a ground out in the third inning and a double in the seventh. Tim Lynch also had two hits and scored twice, and Nick Dawson was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

“Southern Miss is really good and you have to give them credit,” said Charlotte (17-27, 10-17) coach Loren Hibbs, whose team lost its sixth consecutive game. “We’ve got to get better. We have to get stronger, we have to get quicker, we have to get better against elite level teams.”

The Biloxi Sun-Herald contributed to this report.