Homer-happy Southern Miss sweeps Arkansas State

Published 8:15 pm Sunday, April 30, 2023

HATTIESBURG — A super-sized day of big flies carried Southern Miss to a series sweep.

The Golden Eagles hit a season-high five home runs, including two by Blake Johnson and a grand slam by Carson Paetow, to beat Arkansas State 17-7 on Sunday.

Southern Miss (28-15, 14-7 Sun Belt Conference) swept the three-game series and stretched its winning streak to six games in a row. During the streak it has hit 17 home runs and scored in double figures four times.

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“We’re really getting a lot of good pitches, getting in hitter’s counts and taking advantage of it,” Southern Miss coach Scott Berry said. “We’re scoring a lot of runs with two outs and situational things. Those are things that win you games, coupled with good pitching.”

Reece Ewing hit Southern Miss’ first home run of the day, a three-run shot in the first inning that put the Golden Eagles ahead 4-2. Arkansas State (15-25, 5-14) tied it in the second, however, and Southern Miss did not start to pull away until the middle innings.

Paetow hit an RBI double, Dustin Dickerson an RBI single, and Johnson a two-run homer in the third to put the Golden Eagles back in front, 8-4. In the fourth, Paetow crushed a grand slam more than 400 feet over the right field wall to make it 12-4 and the rout was on.

Johnson added a solo home run and an RBI double, before Matthew Etzel smacked a three-run homer to finish the game via the mercy rule in the bottom of the eighth.

Johnson finished 4-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Paetow was 3-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs scored, while Ewing drove in three runs and scored three more.

Etzel was also 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Eight of Southern Miss’ 15 hits went for extra bases. Four of its five home runs came with runners on base.

“When you can get crooked-number home runs, certainly those runs add up real fast.,” Berry said. “I’m real proud of our hitters, especially down in the order. A lot of guys contributed today.”