Thanks to a stellar performance from pitcher Cameron Giannini, third-seeded Southern Miss continues its quest for a C-USA championship, defeating sixth-seeded East Carolina 3-1 in a Friday night elimination game at Pete Taylor Park.
Giannini’s ability to deal with situations of players being on first and third bases with two outs helped Southern Miss receive the win. This win comes after the Golden Eagles lost 9-8 through 11 innings in the opening round of the tournament Wednesday evening.
Through the first three innings, neither team was able to earn runs due in part to exceptional pitching.
“It was kind of a pillow fight early between both teams, said USM coach Scott Berry. “We exchanged double-play balls and took momentum back and forth.”
However, in the fourth, Southern Miss scored three runs. After a Dylan Burdeaux walk to second base off a wild pitch, Austin Roussel singled to the right field, allowing Burdeaux to advance to third base. Following Roussel stealing second base, Michael Gilbert blasted a RBI double, allowing Roussel and Burdeaux to score. To cap the inning, Nick Dawson singled up the middle, scoring Gilbert to give the Golden Eagles a 3-0 advantage.
The Pirates (33-26) managed to earn one run in the fifth, cutting the deficit to 3-1. After that, Southern Miss dominated the remainder of the game with defense, limiting the Pirates to one run for the game.
Giannini threw a total of 112 pitches, struck out five, allowed five hits and three walks.
Roussel and Gilbert each earned two hits out of eight total to lead the Golden Eagles in hits while shortstop Hunter Allen led the Pirates with two hits.
With the win, Southern Miss (34-24) eliminated ECU from the tournament. The Golden Eagles move on to play the University of Texas at San Antonio today at 1 p.m. If Southern Miss wins, they will play the Roadrunners again at 7:30 p.m. to determine which team will play in the C-USA Championship game Sunday afternoon.
2014 Conference USA Championship Bracket