HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Matt Durst’s ground out in the seventh inning scored Connor Barron and Luke Lowery tossed 1.2 innings of relief to pick up the win, as Southern Miss took the rubber match from East Carolina, 6-4, Sunday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park. With the win the Golden Eagles improve to 30-22 overall and 17-10 in Conference USA action, while the Pirates fall to 29-23 and 14-13.
Barron, who was 2-for-4 with three runs scored on the day, continued his hot hitting leading off the bottom of the seventh with a double to left center. Michael Sterling moved him to third on a sac bunt and Durst’s ground out to second pushing him across for a 5-4 advantage.
Luke Lowery (4-0) picked up the win working 1.2 scoreless innings. Sean Buchholz notched his fifth save of the year tossing a scoreless ninth inning. Cameron Giannini worked 6.1 innings in the start allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with five walks and one strikeout before giving way to Lowery in the seventh.
Brett Mabry (4-3) took the loss despite tossing six innings of relief. The right-hander surrendered a pair of runs (both earned) on two hits with four walks and a strikeout. David Lucroy lasted just one-third of an inning allowing two runs (both earned) on two hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout before being lifted for Nick Durazo in the first frame. Durazo tossed 1.2 innings of relief allowing a pair of runs (one earned) on two hits before giving way to Mabry in the second. Jacob Wolfe tossed one-third of an inning recording a strikeout.
Southern Miss scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first taking an early 2-0 lead. With runners on first and second, Mason Robbins singled to right field plating Connor Barron. Two batters later Breck Kline singled home Michael Sterling from second on a soft base hit to left center.
ECU answered with a run in the top of the second following a brief 11-minute rain delay making it a 2-1 contest. Dylan Brown doubled to start the frame and took third on Garrett Brooks' fly ball to right field. Hunter Allen followed with a ground ball to third that went through Austin Roussel’s legs, easily pushing across Brown.
Sterling’s sac fly and Robbins base hit back up the middle extended the Golden Eagles lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the second. Nick Dawson crossed home on Sterling’s fly ball to center and Barron scored his second run on Robbins second RBI single of the day.
ECU pulled even at four-all in the top of the seventh thanks to a two-RBI single by Brown and a sac fly by Bryce Harman. Drew Reynolds and Zach Houchins laced singles and Ian Townsend was walked setting up Brown’s two-run base hit putting runners on the corners. Harman sent a fly ball to left field where Townsend tagged before Brown was thrown out at second on an inning-ending double play.
Dawson’s two-out RBI double to left center plated Tim Lynch giving Southern Miss an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, 6-4.
Offensively the Pirates pounded out 10 hits to the Golden Eagles six, but a pair of throwing miscues led to two runs. Brown, Houchins and Reynolds each posted two-hit games for ECU.
The Pirates will return home for its final four regular season games hosting High Point on Tuesday, May 13 before closing out Conference USA play with UTSA (May 15-17).