Southern Miss closes in on Conference USA title by beating UTSA

Published 7:47 pm Saturday, May 14, 2022

HATTIESBURG — Southern Miss snapped out of its recent funk and made sure it will go into the final weekend of the regular season in first place in Conference USA.

Carson Paetow and Blake Johnson each drove in two runs to lead No. 14 Southern Miss to a pivotal 8-3 victory over UTSA on Saturday.

The victory restored Southern Miss’ lead over UTSA to two games in the Conference USA standings with four games remaining. The teams will finish their series Sunday at 11 a.m. at Pete Taylor Park, and the Golden Eagles can clinch at least a share of the league’s regular-season championship with a victory.

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Southern Miss (37-14, 19-7 Conference USA) has lost its last two weekend series and six of its last 10 games overall, after a 15-game winning streak that propelled to a No. 4 national ranking in late April.

UTSA (33-17, 17-9) tied Saturday’s game at 3 on Ryan Flores’ three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning. Dustin Dickerson hit a sacrfice fly in the bottom of the sixth to put the Golden Eagles back in front, and then they scored four times in the seventh inning to blow it open.

Paetow’s two-run home run and an RBI double by Dickerson keyed the big inning. Paetow finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, as did Johnson. Will McGillis scored three runs and Gabe Montenegro had three hits and one RBI.

Five Golden Eagles had multiple hits as the team posted 13 in the game. Slade Wilks and Danny Lynch also had two hits each.

Dalton Rogers pitched three scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn his fifth save of the season. He allowed no hits and one walk, and struck out two batters.

Hunter Riggins (6-4) went the first six innings and had six strikeouts to get the win.