Southern Miss gets sweep of Louisiana Tech

Published 9:04 am Monday, March 20, 2017

RUSTON, La. — Southern Miss used a fast start to continue its excellent start to the Conference USA season.

Taylor Braley and Matt Wallner each drove in three runs, while Nick Sandlin shut down a potent Louisiana Tech offense for four innings as Southern Miss won 8-5 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

The Golden Eagles (16-4, 3-0 C-USA) won for the seventh consecutive game, marking its longest winning streak since the start of the 2016 season.

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Louisiana Tech (15-5, 0-3) had won 15 of its first 17 games to jump into the Top 25 polls, but has now lost consecutive games for the first time since losing two out of three in a series at Southern Miss last May.

Louisiana Tech was swept in a three-game series for the first time since May 2015 at Old Dominion.

Southern Miss jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the first four innings, doing it mostly with the long ball for a second straight day.

After Wallner grounded in a run in the first with the bases loaded, the Golden Eagles scored their next six runs via home runs.

Wallner started the home run barrage with a two-run shot in the third.
Matt Guidry then led off the fourth with his first career homer, just inside the left field foul pole, before Braley hit a three-run shot over the tall wall in center to make it 7-0. It was Braley’s team-high sixth round-tripper of the season.

Mason Irby had an RBI single in the eighth to bring in USM’s last run.
Golden Eagle starting pitcher J.C. Keys limited the Bulldogs to three hits over the first four innings before the Bulldogs exploded for all five of their runs in the fifth.

Louisiana Tech sent 10 men to the plate in that frame and had six straight batters reach base off of Keys and Colt Smith, who allowed a single to the only batter he faced.

Sandlin entered and gave up a sacrifice fly to Chase Lunceford, but then got a strikeout and allowed a walk before ending the threat with a flyout to center.

That was the last scoring inning as Sandlin (4-0) limited Louisiana Tech to four hits and three walks over his four innings of relief work to get the win.

Sandlin did give up a leadoff double to Brent Diaz to start the ninth and the Golden Eagles went to Stevie Powers, who registered a strikeout and then two groundouts to end the game for his first save.

Former Hinds Community College standout Casey Sutton (3-1) took the loss for Louisiana Tech. He allowed seven runs, all earned, on nine hits in four innings.

Sean Ullrich and another former Hinds star, Jordan Washam, both had three hits and scored a run for the Bulldogs.

Southern Miss will return to action Tuesday, when it takes on Mississippi State at Trustmark Park in Pearl. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.