May 29, 2009

Courtesy: southernmiss.com

ATLANTA - Southern Miss gave Elon a taste of their own medicine outslugging one of the nations top offenses in a 17-15 victory in the opening game of the Atlanta regional at Russ Chandler Stadium on the campus of Georgia Tech.

In a game that featured 11 home runs, 34 hits and 71 total bases, it was a passed ball that allowed the decisive run to score and lift Southern Miss to a 17-15 win over Elon in the first round of the NCAA Atlanta Regional baseball tournament Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium.

"We really battled today," head coach Corky Palmer said. "This was one of the wildest games I have ever been a part of, but it was a great win for us, allowing us to stay in the winners bracket."

The Golden Eagles, 36-23 and playing in an NCAA regional for the seventh straight season, came from behind with five runs in the ninth inning of a see-saw affair in which they led 8-0 early.

After working a pair of one-out walks, pinch-hitter Adam Doleac drove home the tying run with a double, then Joey Archer came home with the go-ahead run on a passed ball.

Following a pattern in which no lead was safe the Golden Eagles tacked on three more runs in the ninth with a pinch hit two-run homer from Kyle Maxie and a solo blast from Bo Davis, his second home run of the game, to make the score 17-13.

Southern Miss would need all the insurance it could get because Elon's Neal Pritchard hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. The Eagles' Kyle Lindsey then recorded the final three outs, including striking out the final two Phoenix hitters.

The Golden Eagles advance to Saturday's 7 p.m. winner's bracket game to face the winner of Friday night's game between host Georgia Tech and Georgia State.

The game featured 11 home runs, and the 71 total bases were the fourth-most ever in an NCAA Tournament game.

Davis finished the game with two homers and four RBI, and Archer went 4-for-4 with four RBI to lead the Southern Miss attack. Collin Cargill, the Golden Eagles' fifth pitcher of the game, earned the win to improve to 4-3 despite giving up three runs and five hits in 1.2 innings.

Bennett Davis and Harry Austin led Elon with four hits apiece. Davis belted three home runs, becoming the sixth player in NCAA Tournament history to hit three or more in a game, scored four runs and drove in four. Chase Austin drove in five runs with a home run, a single and a sacrifice fly for Elon.

Thomas Girdwood, the NCAA saves leader, was tagged with the loss after pitching the ninth inning and surrendering four of the five runs.

Elon, runner-up in the Southern Conference and playing in its fourth NCAA tournament, scored six of its runs with two out.

Southern Miss got out of the gate early, scoring eight times on seven hits in the second inning. Three of the hits were home runs -- a three-run blast by Bo Davis, a two-run shot by Kameron Brunty and a solo homer by Corey Stevens in the span of four batters.

Elon remained steadfast, getting one run back on a solo homer by Bennett Davis in the second and an RBI single from Chase Austin in the third. The Phoenix made it a game again with three runs in the fourth, getting a run-scoring single from Dallas Tarleton and a two-run single from Harry Austin to close the gap to 8-5.

Archer homered for Southern Miss to make it 9-5 in the fifth, but Elon got the run right back in its half of the frame on Davis' second homer of the game.

Elon finally drew even in the sixth, putting two men on with two out before Chase Austin greeted Golden Eagle reliever Josh Fields with his 23rd homer of the year, knotting the game at 9-9.

The Golden Eagles recaptured the lead quickly, scoring three times on three hits, including Archer's RBI single, and an Elon error in the seventh to take a 12-9 lead.

Bennett Davis got one run back for Elon in its half of the seventh with his leadoff home run, then capped a three-run eighth for the Phoenix with a run-scoring single that put his team ahead, 13-12.

Despite the eight-run cushion he had, Southern Miss starter Todd McInnis could not last long enough to earn the win. The Conference USA Pitcher of the Year was lifted after surrendering five runs and six hits in 3-2 innings.

Elon starter Tom Porter lasted just 1-2/3 innings after giving up eight runs and seven hits, including three homers.

Southern Miss will play the winner of tonight's Georgia Tech/Georgia Southern game in the winner's bracket tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. (CST). JR Ballinger will toe the rubber for Southern Miss.