Hall’s gem carries Southern Miss to shutout of Rice

Published 9:50 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

HATTIESBURG — Southern Miss’ explosive offense took a night off, but when you’re this hot it doesn’t seem to matter.

Tanner Hall tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts and Christopher Sargent drove in the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly as No. 6 Southern Miss defeated Rice 1-0 in their series opener at Pete Taylor Park.

The Golden Eagles (30-8, 14-2 Conference USA) won for the 12th time in a row and 20th time in the last 22 games. The current streak is tied for the third longest under coach Scott Berry.

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Hall started the game with seven consecutive strikeouts. He ended up retiring the first eight batters, before hitting the No. 9 hitter Hal Hughes in the third inning.

Rice (11-27, 4-12) got the first of its three hits with a two-out double by Nathan Becker in the fourth. Aaron Smigelski followed with a single to right, but Carson Paetow gunned down Becker at the plate for the final out of the frame. It was the only offensive threat by the Owls.

Hall (7-0) only allowed two more runners — a two-out walk in the fifth and a leadoff single in the seventh — as he tied a career high with eight innings of work.

“He was really good,” Berry said. “He strikes out the side in the first two innings and ends up with 13 on the night with only one walk. He showed his athleticism with getting off the mound on a couple plays to first. He picks a guy off at second in the seventh inning with one out. That’s a pretty special night for him.”

Landon Harper fanned the first two batters he faced in the ninth and got a groundout to earn his eighth save of the season.

Southern Miss managed its only run in the sixth. After a leadoff double by Dustin Dickerson, he went to third on a a groundout before scoring on Sargent’s sacrifice fly. Dickerson collected two of the Golden Eagles’ hits with a pair of doubles.

Southern Miss and Rice will play game two of the three-game series Saturday at 2 p.m.