Southern Miss wins first series at Rice since 2008
HOUSTON — Southern Miss has, historically, had a hard time winning at Rice’s Reckling Park.
This weekend, however, the Golden Eagles made it look easy.
Southern Miss tied a season high with 18 hits, Matthew Guidry hit a grand slam and three other players homered, and it overcame an early deficit to roll to a 17-6 victory over Rice in Sunday’s series finale.
Southern Miss (28-9, 12-3 Conference USA) won its first series at Rice (13-25, 4-11) since 2008, and just its second since the Owls joined C-USA in 2006.
Southern Miss scored 32 runs in its two wins in the series, and 36 runs overall. That was its highest total ever in a three-game series against Rice, surpassing the 27 it scored in 2010.
The series win also moved Southern Miss back into sole possession of first place in Conference USA, one game ahead of Florida Atlantic and two in front of Old Dominion.
Old Dominion comes to Hattiesburg for a three-game series next weekend.
Rice took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the rest of the game belonged to the Golden Eagles.
Mason Irby brought in a run in the second inning with a bases-loaded walk, and Guidry’s grand slam in the third put them ahead for good.
The Golden Eagles went on to score in every inning except the sixth. Taylor Braley hit a two-run home run and Cole Donaldson a solo shot — both in the third inning — and Daniel Keating added another two-run homer during a five-run rally in the ninth inning.
Braley also hit a two-run double in the ninth inning and finished 2-for-5 with five RBIs.
Dylan Burdeaux was 3-for-6 with a double, two stolen bases and three runs scored for the Golden Eagles. Irby had three hits and two RBIs, and Guidry was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
Eight of Southern Miss’ nine starters scored a run, and 11 of its 18 hits went for extra bases.
USM starting pitcher J.C. Keys failed to make it out of the first inning, but reliever Colt Smith (2-0) held the line after that and picked up the win. Smith allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings, walked two and struck out two. He gave up six hits.
Ford Proctor went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Rice, and Dominic DiCaprio was 3-for-3 with two runs scored.