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USM steals a victory from MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Southern Miss had two hours to dwell on the prospect of another lost series Sunday afternoon. After that rain-induced time of reflection, the Golden Eagles decided to change their fate.

After waiting out a 2 hour, 2 minute rain delay, Southern Miss scored eight runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat Middle Tennessee 13-9 and maintain its position atop the Conference USA standings.

Southern Miss 34-12, 16-5 C-USA) won its sixth conference series in seven weekends and is a game ahead of Florida Atlantic (29-13-1, 15-6) for first place. Old Dominion and Charlotte are two games back and Middle Tennessee (20-24, 7-14) is well back in the pack.

Southern Miss and Florida Atlantic play a pivotal three-game series at Pete Taylor Park beginning Friday night. There are three weekend series left before the Conference USA Tournament in Biloxi.

Middle Tennessee had taken an 8-5 lead in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Brad Jarreau, but the rain delay started between the eighth and ninth innings. When play finally resumed, the Golden Eagles went right to work.

Three walks and a hit batter brought in a run, and LeeMarcus Boyd hit an RBI single to make it 8-7. Dylan Burdeaux followed that with a two-run single to give Southern Miss the lead, and then the floodgates really opened.

Mason Irby hit an RBI single, Burdeaux stole home and Matt Wallner — who had led off the ninth with a walk — belted a two-run home run to make it 13-8.

Middle Tennessee got a run back in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by Riley Delgado, but never got the tying run to the plate.

Delgado finished 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Blue Raiders, Ryan Kemp had three hits and Kaleb King hit a solo home run to lead off a four-run second inning. Middle Tennessee led 6-1 through five innings and finished with 15 hits.

For Southern Miss, Burdeaux went 2-for-5 with a double and four RBIs, Irby had two hits and two RBIs, and Boyd was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored.

Relief pitcher Nick Sandlin (6-1) allowed one run in two innings to earn the victory.

Southern Miss is 19-1 when scoring nine runs or more this season.