Southern Miss shuts out UCF, 1-0, in 14 innings
Golden Eagles outlast first-place Knights
Sitting at .500 through six conference games, Southern Miss was in the need of a strong performance this weekend against No. 13 UCF in Hattiesburg to stay near the top of the conference standings as the race nears the midway point.
It took three hours 35 minutes and 14 innings, but the Golden Eagles posted a huge 1-0 shutout of the visiting Knights on Friday night at Pete Taylor Park.
USM (20-13, 4-3) received strong pitching performances from starter Andrew Pierce and reliever Bradley Roney. The combo limited UCF to just six hits while striking out 15 Knight batters over the 14 frames.
Both teams had chances, but they were limited as one would expect in such a pitcher's duel.
The Knights' (28-8, 7-3) best opportunity came in the eighth. They used singles by Shreve and Richardson then Sweeney reaching on an error to load the bases with two outs. However, Pierce buckled down and struck out slugger D.J. Hicks to put up his eighth straight zero.
Southern Miss' best chance before extra innings came in the sixth.
The Golden Eagles got two men on with one out. Michael Sterling singled with one out and Ashley Graeter reached on catcher's interference, but USM was unable to capitalize as Kameron Brunty into a fielder's choice and Blake Brown flew out.
In extras, USM loaded the bases with just one out in the 11th against UCF reliever Ben Lively.
Lively recorded consecutive strikeouts of Day and Rodriguez to keep the game going.
However, the previously unbeaten Knights' hurler wasn't able to do the same in the 14th.
With Isaac Rodriguez standing on first and two outs in the inning, pinch hitter Mason Robbins delivered a game-ending double down the left field line.
Pierce allowed five hits in his nine shutout innings of work. He struck out ten and walked three.
Roney, who collected his first win of the season, surrendered just a single hit in five scoreless innings.
Blake Brown and Chase Fowler had two-hit games for Southern Miss.
Ryan Breen, who had two hits, was the only UCF player with multiple hits.
UCF starter Brian Adkins was pulled after seven innings during which he allowed just three hits.
Roman Madrid worked the eighth for the Knights before Joe Rogers turned in two no-hit innings of relief.
The series will continue on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. (CT) in Hattiesburg.