May 26, 2012
Box Score html
Box Score pdf
PEARL, Miss. - The Southern Miss baseball team scored a pair of late runs for a 4-2 win over the Rice Owls in the final game of round-robin pool play Saturday night at the Conference USA Championship in Pearl, Miss. Rice's action in the tournament has concluded. The Championship Final is set for Sunday afternoon between Memphis and UAB.
As the team had done two nights before in the Memphis game, the Owls quickly opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. J.T. Chargois hit a two-out double to the right field corner. Jeremy Rathjen followed with a single up the middle for a 1-0 margin.
Southern Miss took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after the Owls retired the first two batters of the inning. Rice was looking to get out of the frame with two away, but two hit batters, a wild pitch and a single by Michael Sterling and double by Mason Robins lifted USM to a 2-1 advantage.
The Owls came right back and tied the game in the top of the sixth. Christian Stringer beat-out an infield single and stole second base to move into scoring position. Chargois punched a base-hit through the left side to drive Stringer home knot it up at 2-2.
The Blue & Gray stranded a runner in the top of the seventh. Southern Miss took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Three hits and a pair of walks pushed across a pair of runs for a 4-2 USM lead. The Eagles held-off Rice over the final two frames for a 4-2 final. The team finished with four hits on the night.
"I thought we had a very disappointing offensive effort," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham. "Southern Miss showed a great effort."
Rice dropped to 40-17 on the season. Southern Miss improved to 32-24 overall.
The Owls are next scheduled to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday (May 28) in the R Room atop the south end of Rice Stadium. The team assembles at 10:30 am to watch the selection show that begins at 11 am (Central Time).
"Obviously we hope we can host," coach Graham said. "We'll see what decisions are made. No matter what happens we'll have to play better in an NCAA Regional. There isn't any question about that, but we're not finished yet."