RUSTON, La. Taylor Braley, Mason Irby, Matt Wallner and Casey Maack each homered as Southern Miss held off No. 23 Louisiana Tech in a 13-9 Conference USA baseball victory Saturday afternoon at J.C. Love Field.
The Golden Eagles (15-4, 2-0 C-USA) captured their league-opening series by winning their sixth game in a row. The squad, behind three hits each from Irby, Hunter Slater, Dylan Burdeaux and LeeMarcus Boyd, saw 11 of their 17 knocks go for extra bases.
LA Tech (15-4, 0-2) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on back-to-back home runs by Jordan Washam and Raphael Gladu in the first. Brent Diaz followed with a single for the Bulldogs, before Roberts settled into the game.
From that point, the junior right-hander limited the Bulldogs to just two runs (one earned) on three hits after that point with three walks and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings to get the victory and improve to 2-1.
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Roberts was able to work with the lead after the first as the Golden Eagles exploded for a six-run second.
After a flyout by Wallner, Casey Maack collected his fourth homer in the last five games to put the visitors on the board. LeeMarcus Boyd then doubled and scored one batter later on Burdeaux’s two-base hit. After a walk to Irby, Slater drove in Burdeaux with a double and Taylor Braley blasted a three-run homer to left, his fifth of the year, to give the Golden Eagles the 6-2 advantage.
Irby then extended the lead two inning later with his first homer of the year, a two-run shot to right, scoring Boyd who opened the inning with a single.
After LA Tech cut the gap to 8-3 in the bottom of the frame, Boyd and Irby increased the lead to 10-3 as each tallied run-scoring singles. A two-run homer by Wallner over the tall centerfield wall in the sixth made the score 12-3, before Louisiana Tech began to fight.
The Bulldogs scored once in the sixth and seventh frames and then added two more in the eighth and plated two more tallies in the ninth, on four Southern Miss hurlers, before Nick Sandlin was called in to close out the game.
With two runners on, Sandlin walked the first batter before getting Sean Ullrich to strike out to end the game and earn his second save of the year.