|Updated: 3/16 9:22 pm
||Published: 3/16 9:20 pm
Hattiesburg, MS –Where Friday night’s game featured two pitchers dueling each other and mowing down opposing batters, Saturday afternoon’s game between Central Arkansas and Southern Mississippi went a bit differently. The Bears and Golden Eagles combined for four runs on Friday, a number that Central Arkansas eclipsed in an eight run first inning en route to a 14-3 victory over Southern Miss.
The Central Arkansas (17-2) offense got started early, chasing Southern Miss starter Jake Drehoff after only a third of an inning. Right fielder Forrestt Allday got things started for the Bears, drawing a walk to lead off the game. Following a strikeout, Jonathan Davis singled to center field and catcher Michael Marietta was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. First baseman Scott Zimmerle singled to the shortstop to bring in the game’s first run, and third baseman Garrett Brown followed with a single through the left side to plate Davis and give Central Arkansas the 2-0 lead. Designated hitter Kraig Kelley drew a bases loaded walk to push the lead to 3-0 and end the day for Drehoff.
Reliever Jay Myrick faced some struggles as well, issuing a bases loaded walk of his own to shortstop Justin Treece to bring up left fielder Ethan Harris. With a 2-1 count, Myrick grooved a pitch to Harris, who blasted it over the right field fence for his first grand slam of the season, making the lead 8-0 in favor of the Bears. A walk, a single and a pair of strikeouts would end the inning with the Bears leading 8-0.
The Bears stranded a runner in both the second and third inning before coming to life again in the fourth. Zimmerle lead off the inning with a walk and, following a strikeout, Kelley walked as well. After another strikeout, Harris struck again, lacing a single to right field to bring in Zimmerle for his fifth RBI of the day and a 9-0 lead for the Bears. Allday stepped in and drew his third walk of the day, loading the bases for second baseman Blake Marchal, who blooped a single to left field that brought in Kelley and Harris, pushing the Central Arkansas lead to 11-0.
In the top of the sixth, Central Arkansas strung together a walk and a pair of singles to push the lead to 12-0.
Southern Miss (7-11) got on the board in bottom of the seventh inning. A walk, a single, and another walk loaded the bases for pinch hitter Michael Sterling, who singled to left field to drive in two runs and cut the Central Arkansas lead to 12-2.
The Bears got the runs back immediately though, extending the lead back to 12 runs in the top of the eighth inning. A ground out started the inning for the Bears before Allday worked his fourth walk of the day. Marchal singled to left field, moving pinch runner Nick Rougeau to second. Davis blasted a triple to deep center field, plating Rougeau and Marchal to extend the lead to 14-2.
Southern Miss got a final run in the bottom of the eighth inning, when designated hitter Jared Bales, who had missed over a year due to an injury, put a Zach Barr offering over the left-center field fence to cut the Central Arkansas lead to 14-3.
Southern Miss needed three pitchers to get through the game’s first four innings. Drehoff (0-3) threw one third of an inning, taking the loss and allowing six runs on three hits, a pair of walks and one strikeout. His removal marked the third time this season that a Southern Miss starter has failed to make it out of the first inning. Myrick finished off the first inning, giving up two runs on two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. Luke Lowery threw three innings for the Golden Eagles, giving up three runs on three hits and four walks while striking out three. Jake Winston worked the fifth and sixth innings, surrendering one run on three hits. He issued two free passes and struck out one. A.J. Glasshof allowed two runs in 1.2 innings of work, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out one. Cody Carroll, in his first appearance of the season, worked 1.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out four.
Jeffrey Enloe (4-0) picked up the win for Central Arkansas, working six innings of scoreless baseball. He gave up four hits and two walks while striking out five. Following a leadoff single and a fielder’s choice to open the bottom of the first, Enloe sat down 12 Golden Eagles in a row, keeping Southern Miss off the bases until the bottom of the fifth. Griffin Glaude threw the seventh inning for the Bears, surrendering a pair of runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out one Southern Miss batter. Zach Barr worked the eighth inning, giving up a run on two hits while recording one strikeout. Connor McClain threw the final inning for the Bears, holding the Golden Eagles scoreless.
Central Arkansas will look to complete the sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1:00.