Story from USM Athletics:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Danny Lynch lined a single into right-center to score Slade Wilksin the bottom of the ninth to lift No. 16 Southern Miss to a 7-6 Guardians Credit Union Sun Belt Conference Championship winners bracket victory over Troy Thursday evening at Riverwalk Stadium.
The Golden Eagles (39-16) won for the 17th time over the last 18 games as they won their first two league tournament games – in a non-pool play format – for the 11th time since 1989.
Matthew Etzel led the Golden Eagles with three hits, while Dustin Dickerson, Nick Monistere and Blake Johnson added two each in the Golden Eagle 12-hit attack. It was the 14th double-digit hit contest for the Golden Eagles over the last 19 games and the 28th time overall this season.
The game went on to have three ties with the home team retaking the lead each time before Lynch’s game-winning single in the ninth.
With the score tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Slade Wilks led off with a single. Christopher Sargent then walked for the third time in the game. After a strikeout, Lynch unloaded on the first offering from Troy reliever Noah Manning to score Wilks from second to give Southern Miss its second walk-off victory this season and 26th since the start of the 2017 season.
After giving up a run to Troy (39-19) in the second inning on an RBI single by Donovan Whibbs, the Golden Eagles took their first lead 2-1 with back-to-back run-scoring singles from Etzel and Dickerson.
Troy then tied the game in the fourth as William Sullivan tripled with two outs and then scored on a wild pitch. Sullivan finished with three of the Trojans 10 hits in the contest.
Again, the Golden Eagles took the lead at 3-2 with back-to-back doubles from Etzel and Dickerson – the latter driving in a run – before Troy knotted the game in the sixth with an RBI fielder’s choice by Caleb Bartolero.
Southern Miss then scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth as they strung together four-straight hits. Johnson was the third one, a two-run double high off the left field wall before scoring on an Etzel single.
The Trojans, though, took advantage of two Golden Eagle errors and registered three hits in the eighth to tie the game for the final time at 6-6.
Storm, who gave up the final run in the eighth, retired all three batters in the ninth to register the victory and improve to 4-1. He was the third pitcher for the Golden Eagles as Billy Oldham went five-plus innings before Niko Mazza added 2 1/3 frames. The three pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts and only two walks.
Ben Thompson, the second of three Trojan pitchers suffered the loss and fell to 5-3. He allowed a run over 2 2/3 innings with two hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
The Golden Eagles will enjoy a day off before returning to action Saturday at 9 a.m. to face the loser of Friday’s 3 p.m., matchup between App State and Troy.See a typo? Report it here.