BOWLING GREEN, Ky. Hayden Roberts and Nick Sandlin limited WKU to four hits as No. 23 Southern Miss blanked the Hilltoppers 5-0 Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field.
The Golden Eagles (23-5 overall, 7-1 C-USA) won for the 13th time in the last 14 games while also winning their seventh consecutive road contest.
Roberts scattered four hits over 5 1/3 innings and walked two while fanning four to earn the victory and improve to 4-1 on the season.
The Hilltoppers (9-19, 3-5) got three of their four hits in the first two frames as Roberts stranded five runners over the first two stanzas. After a groundout to end the second, the junior right-hander then allowed just two base runners from that point – a hit batter in the fourth and a single to open the sixth.
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Sandlin then came in with one out in the sixth and reitred 11 of the final 12 WKU batters, his only blemish a two-out walk in the eighth, with five strikeouts to earn his third save.
The Golden Eagles registered 15 hits in the game, but left 11 stranded on base. Cole Donaldson, along with Hunter Slater, each collected three hits to lead the Golden Eagle attack.
Donaldson delivered a one-out double in the fourth and scored one batter later on a LeeMarcus Boyd singe through the right side to open the Golden Eagle scoring.
Southern Miss extended its lead to 3-0 in the seventh. With one out, Slater doubled and scored one batter later on Taylor Braley’s two-run homer. It was the team-best tying eighth blast for Braley.
The Golden Eagles completed their scoring with two more runs one inning later. Again Donaldson got things going with a leadoff single, before Burdeaux doubled to give Southern Miss runners at second and third. Mason Irby then singled in Donaldson and Slater knocked in Burdeaux on a fielder’s choice.
WKU starter Paul Kirkpatrick (1-4) allowed three runs on 10 hits with a walk and four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings to suffer the loss for the Hilltoppers.
Southern Miss goes after the sweep in the series finale, which is set for 1 p.m., Sunday.