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Golden Eagles are the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions



Photo from USM athletics

Story from USM Athletics:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Justin Storm threw 5 2/3 scoreless relief innings and No. 16 Southern Miss belted three home runs to defeat Louisiana 6-2 in capturing the Guardian Credit Union Sun Belt Conference championship at Riverwalk Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles (41-17) captured the league’s automatic bid in next week’s NCAA Tournament as they captured the title in the school’s inaugural season in the conference. Louisiana fell to 40-22.

The win was the 19th in the last 21 games for the Golden Eagles as they collected double-digit hits for the fourth time in five tournament games.

Storm entered the game in the fourth with two runners on and the Cajuns having just taken the lead on a two-run single from Heath Hood off Southern Miss starter Niko Mazza. Storm, who entered the game with one out, immediately gave up a single but the runner from second trying to score was thrown out at the plate by leftfielder Reece Ewing. He then got a groundout to first to end the last real Cajun threat in the contest.

The Golden Eagles had taken the initial lead on a solo home run by Dustin Dickerson just inside the fair pole in left in the third. After USM gave up the two runs, Danny Lynch tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a homer of his own, for his 11th of the year.

With the score tied at 2-2, Southern Miss went ahead for good in the fifth on an RBI Dickerson single. Slade Wilks added a two-run homer in the seventh, his team-leading 20th, before the Golden Eagles finished the scoring with an RBI double from Blake Johnson.

Storm limited the Cajuns to just two hits and a pair of ninth inning walks after the fourth as he retired seven in a row at one point to get the victory and improve to 5-1.

UL reliever Brendan Moody suffered the loss by allowing a run on two hits over a third of an inning to fall to 0-5.

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