Southern Miss held off Tennessee 5-3 in the completion of Saturday’s suspended game, while the Volunteers rallied for an 8-4 victory over the Golden Eagles in the second contest on Sunday, to force a winner-take-all affair at Pete Taylor Park on Monday.
The two teams will play for the right to go to Omaha Monday in the best-of-three set. The game time has not been determined at this point.
Leading 4-0 in the opening game when play resumed Sunday morning, the Volunteers quickly erased the Golden Eagles’ cushion with a three-run 5th inning. Will Armistead entered the game for Billy Oldham, who started the game on Saturday, after play resumed.
After getting an out on a fielder’s choice, Armistead then hit a batter before a walk and another hit batter resulting in the Volunteers first run. Armistead then was replaced by Justin Storm who allowed a two-run single to Jared Dickey which cut the deficit to 4-3, but a strikeout looking ended the frame. The Golden Eagles added an insurance run in the top of the next inning as Tate Parker opened the 6th with a double and then scored later in the frame on a Carson Paetow fielder’s choice. That would be all the runs Southern Miss needed as Storm held UT scoreless the rest of the way as he gave up no runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts over the final 4 1/3 innings to earn the victory and improve to 7-2. UT starter Andrew Lindsey gave up four runs on six hits over 4 innings on Saturday with a walk and five strikeouts to suffer the loss and fall to 3-3.
The Golden Eagles scored all their other runs on Saturday with a two-run triple by Tate Parker in the first, followed by solo home runs by both Dustin Dickerson, in the third, and, Nick Monistere, in the fifth. It was the 11th homer for Dickerson this season and fifth for Monistere.
Oldham had limited UT to two hits over 4 1/3 innings and the game was suspended with the Volunteers with a runner at first with one out and Christian Scott at the plate with a 1-1 count. The game was delayed twice, once in the fourth and then again in the fifth inning, necessitating the move to Sunday.
In the second game, the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 advantage, scoring all their runs in the bottom of the 3rd. Matthew Etzel opened the frame with a triple to center that scooted past a Volunteer outfielder and rolled to the wall.
After an RBI single from Dickerson, Christopher Sargent homered off the scoreboard in left centerfield to account for the scoring. It was Sargent’s 14th homer of the year and 51st of his career, moving him into sole possession of third place on the Golden Eagle career charts.
The Volunteers, though, struck quick against Southern Miss ace Tanner Hall in the fourth. After a leadoff double and a flyout, Griffin Merritt singled in their first run. Blake Burke followed with a two-run home run to right, his 16th of the year.
After a strikeout, Hall then allowed a walk, a single and a hit by pitch to load the bases before Dickey singled to center and was misplayed by Matthew Etzel which allowed all three runners to score on the play to complete the inning. UT then added two more runs the following frame on an RBI groundout to first. The throw to the plate kicked away from the catcher and allowed another Vol to score.
Chase Dollander went eight-plus innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts to earn the victory and improve to 7-6. After giving up the homer to Sargent, Dollander retired 18 of the next 19 batters before walking the first batter to start the ninth.
Chase Burns came in and got the final three outs to close out the game. Hall suffered his first loss in nine starts as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts to fall to 12-4.
Head coach Scott Berry, pitcher Tanner Hall, and INF Dustin Dickerson all spoke about today’s double dip after the game. Video is courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics.