BILOXI, Miss. The Thundering Herd baseball team (29-27) fell to the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Thursday evening, 10-5, at MGM Park in the second round of The First 2019 C-USA Baseball Championship.
The Golden Eagles’ Gabe Montenegro led off with a single, followed by a Matt Guidry home run to right off Marshall starter Wade Martin to give them an early 2-0 lead. They struck for another pair of runs in the top of the fourth to make it 4-0 as Martin exited after three and a third innings of work.
The Herd got its bats started in the bottom of the fourth and had a little help from the USM defense. Reynaldo Pastrana reached base and advanced to second on a dropped fly by the centerfielder to lead off the inning. Raul Cabrera was then hit by a pitch with one out. Luke Edwards then singled to center to bring home Pastrana.
Geordon Blanton then singled to left to load the bases with one out. Erik Rodriguez came to the plate and hit a grounder to third that looked like it might be a double play, the second baseman made a throwing error trying to turn two and two more runs scored as Marshall cut the deficit to one, 4-3.
Southern Miss then struck for runs in each the fifth and sixth to extend its lead to 6-3. The Golden Eagles struck for another insurance run in the top of the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth, Marshall loaded the bases with no outs as Cabrera singled to center and Edwards and Blanton each drew four-pitch walks. Rodriguez struck out, but Shane Hanon picked him up with a two-RBI single to make it a 7-5 game. The Herd couldn’t capitalize anymore runs as Peralta fouled to third and Tucker Linder struck out.
The top of ninth saw three Herd pitchers with Philip Hoffman starting the inning off with a groundout on a bunt, but walked the next two batters on 3-2 pitches. D’Andre Knight came on with a 2-0 count to Montengro to relieve Hoffman. Two pitches later Montengro hit a three-run homer to right. Knight recorded the second out of the inning and Austen Martinez came on to record the final out as Marshall trailed 10-5.
The Herd went down in order in the bottom of the ninth as Southern Miss took the game.