Hall’s gem powers Southern Miss past JMU in Sun Belt Tournament opener

Published 5:42 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Tanner Hall keeps getting stronger as the season goes along, and so does Southern Miss.

The Golden Eagles’ ace pitched a complete game, allowing one unearned run while striking out nine, to lead Southern Miss to a 7-1 victory over James Madison in its opener at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Wednesday.

Hall (12-3) gave up three hits and did not walk a batter in his second complete game of the season. He retired 14 consecutive batters at one point, until Jack Cone singled to lead off the ninth, and then the next three in order to close it out.

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The Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year threw seven innings or more in his fifth consecutive start. He has not allowed more than four hits or two runs in any of those outings, and has at least nine strikeouts in all of them.

“Once I started rolling and the defense was making plays behind me, it made it a lot easier for me to go out there and trust everything I was throwing,” Hall said. “Along with the offense turning it up toward the end of the game. They were putting a lot of runs on the board. It made it very easy to go out there each inning and trust that I was going to get three outs at some point.”

James Madison took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, and then Nick Monistere hit a two-run home run in the bottom half to put Southern Miss (38-16) ahead for good.

Reece Ewing singled in two runs in the sixth inning and finished with three RBIs. Matthew Etzel, Danny Lynch and Dustin Dickerson had two hits apiece. Dickerson and Lynch each had one RBI and scored a run.

Southern Miss won for the 16th time in 17 games. It advanced to play Troy (39-18) in a winners’ bracket game Thursday at 4 p.m.

Troy won a thriller in its tournament opener on Thursday by beating Appalachian State 10-9 in 10 innings. The Trojans rallied from a 5-0 deficit; blew a two-run lead in the top of the ninth; scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to send it to extra innings; and then won it on Kole Myers’ RBI double in the 10th.

James Madison (31-24) will play Appalachian State (27-24) in an elimination game Thursday at 9 a.m.