USM captures C-USA Tournament crown

MGN Online

USM rode its pitching to claim a 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship.

Posted: May 27, 2018 10:44 PM

BILOXI, Miss. (WTVA/USM Athletics) - For much of the 2018 season, the talk around Southern Miss baseball was the potency of the Golden Eagles' big bats and potent offense.


But over a five-day stretch at MGM Park in Biloxi, USM rode its pitching to claim a 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship presented by The First.

Junior right-hander Mason Strickland won Most Valuable Player honors after throwing a three-hit, complete-game 6-0 shutout over Charlotte to put top-seeded USM in the championship game for the third consecutive season.

Then, in Sunday afternoon's finale, junior left-hander Adam Jackson and senior right-hander Keller Bradford combined to limit the hard-hitting, third-seeded Owls on three runs on seven hits as the Golden Eagles claimed their second postseason title in three years with a 12-3 victory.

Southern Miss (43-16) also won the league's regular-season title, giving the Golden Eagles both in the same season for just the second time (2003). The tournament title comes with C-USA's automatic bid into the NCAA postseason, the third consecutive year the Golden Eagles have made the 64-team field.

"I'm just so proud of everybody because it's so hard to do what we just did," USM coach Scott Berry said, "to win the regular-season conference title and then try to hold off seven other teams to win this automatic bid.

"The attitude was all about the mental."

And about the pitching.

The five Golden Eagle starters in the C-USA postseason, Nick Sandlin, Stevie Powers, Walker Powell, Strickland and Jackson, posted a combined 1.05 earned run average.

"Those guys really responded," Berry said. "That was pretty special (Sunday), what Mason Strickland did, covers nine innings in 92 pitches, and really saves the rest of our pitching staff.

Then, in the final, Jackson had thrown 2 1/3 scoreless innings when he was removed from the game with an injury.

Bradford (3-1) entered and did not allow a run until he gave up a two-out, three-run home run to Gunnar Lambert in the seventh inning.

"We were kind of hoping we could catch lightning in a bottle," FAU John McCormack said. "They just had too much firepower. Congratulations to them. I thought their guys pitched great.

"I thought we had a good run here, though I wish it would have ended different. But, hey, give credit to them."

At that point, Southern Miss had built a 5-0 lead on two-run home runs by Matt Wallner and Bryant Bowen and a run-scoring single by Wallner.

Following Lambert's shot, USM added two runs in the seventh on Gabe Montenegro's solo home run and a run-scoring single by Daniel Keating. The Golden Eagles added four more runs in the eighth on RBI hits by Wallner, Hunter Slater and Matthew Guidry and a two-run double by Keating.

USM's 12 runs were the most in a final since 2007, and the Golden Eagles became the first team to play twice on Sunday and win the conference championship.

FAU starter Nick Prather (0-3) took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

"You get that momentum going, that's what we do," said Wallner, who had a career-high four hits in 6teh championship game, driving in four runs and scoring twice. "That's how we roll, and hopefully, we can use that momentum going into the regional."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto963299
Hinds9584195
Harrison6848109
Jackson6124118
Rankin528598
Lee484295
Madison4633105
Forrest368186
Jones345287
Lauderdale3350143
Lafayette315049
Washington3097107
Lamar281849
Oktibbeha239261
Bolivar239083
Lowndes228863
Neshoba2164115
Panola211749
Marshall208350
Leflore200890
Pontotoc194728
Monroe190277
Sunflower189755
Lincoln186165
Warren172257
Tate164251
Union160925
Pike160458
Copiah158940
Yazoo151239
Scott150229
Itawamba147634
Coahoma147443
Pearl River144467
Simpson144253
Alcorn143925
Prentiss140429
Grenada136945
Adams136548
Leake131843
Holmes124961
George122224
Tippah121530
Covington117636
Winston116624
Wayne115823
Hancock114139
Marion111046
Attala107833
Tishomingo106142
Newton102729
Chickasaw102432
Tallahatchie95527
Clarke88553
Clay87027
Jasper81122
Walthall75028
Stone72414
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71613
Carroll70614
Lawrence70214
Yalobusha69427
Noxubee69217
Smith68816
Perry65225
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54217
Humphreys52618
Amite51214
Benton48417
Quitman4796
Webster42014
Kemper40917
Wilkinson38622
Jefferson33811
Franklin3235
Choctaw3077
Sharkey30617
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
Columbus
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Oxford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Starkville
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather