Louisiana Tech delays USM’s championship celebration

Published 6:01 pm Sunday, May 13, 2018

Southern Miss’ championship celebration will wait a few days.

Louisiana Tech rode a fast start and a four-RBI day from Parker Bates to an 8-3 win over Southern Miss on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series in Hattiesburg.

Southern Miss (36-14, 20-6 Conference USA) could have clinched the regular-season C-USA championship with a victory. Instead, it will head into the final weekend of the season needing one victory over Marshall, or a loss by Louisiana Tech against Old Dominion, to get it done. Marshall and Old Dominion are tied for last place.

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The Golden Eagles have a 2 1/2-game lead over second-place Louisiana Tech (35-18, 18-9) with three to play.

Southern Miss also had a streak of 12 consecutive conference series victories snapped.

“We just didn’t give ourselves a good opportunity,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “We spotted them three runs in the first and two in the second, and even though we demonstrated (Saturday) that we had a lot of ability to come back and score a lot of runs after Friday night’s loss, (Sunday) was a different story.”

Louisiana Tech was blown out 16-1 in the middle game of the series, but won the bookend games.
Bates went 2-for-3 with four RBIs on Sunday, driving in a run with a single in the first inning and two more with a double in the second as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Bates also hit a sacrifice fly during a three-run eighth inning as Louisiana Tech put the game away.

Taylor Young was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored, and Hunter Wells had three hits for Tech, which collected 11 hits against seven USM pitchers.

Southern Miss did manage to get back into the game after its sluggish start. Reliever J.C. Keys threw three innings of shutout ball to keep Tech at bay, and in the third inning the Golden Eagles scored twice with two hits, an error and a balk.

Matt Wallner drove in another run with a groundout in the fifth inning to cut it to 5-3, but that’s as close as the Golden Eagles got.

Reliever David Leal threw four scoreless innings for Louisiana Tech, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five, and its hitters salted the away the victory with the big eighth inning.
Young drove in two runs with a single to make it 7-3, and then scored on Bates’ sacrifice fly.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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