MIAMI - Southern Miss jumped out early Friday night in its game at FIU, but the Panthers outlasted a lightning delay and the Golden Eagles for a second consecutive Conference USA victory, 5-2, at the FIU Baseball Stadium.
Dylan Burdeaux got the nationally ranked Golden Eagles (36-17, 20-9) out in front on the second pitch of the contest with his team-leading 11th home run to leftfield, but that lead was short-lived for the visitors.
A Nick Day run-scoring single in the bottom of the frame tied the score at 1-1 and then, after an hour, 30-minute lightning delay before the start of the bottom of the second, the Panthers went ahead for good with a pair of runs in the stanza as Eddie Silvia knocked in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly and Rey Perez added an RBI single.
Burdeaux, who had two the team's eight hits, delivered a one-out triple in the third and then scored on a Jake Sandlin groundout to cut the gap to 3-2. That, though, was the closest Southern Miss got the rest of the contest. Tim Lynch led the Golden Eagle offense with three hits while Tracy Hadley added a pair of singles.
FIU extended its lead with solo runs in the fourth and fifth inning, both coming on wild pitches, to go up 5-2 and six FIU pitchers limited the Golden Eagles to just eight hits in the contest.
Kirk McCarty (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season as he went 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with four walks and five strikeouts as the team dropped its first contest in 14 starts for the sophomore left-hander this season.
Reliever Nick Johnson limited the Panthers (27-27, 14-15) to one run on three hits with two walks and a career-best seven strikeouts over 3 1/3 frames for the Golden Eagles.
Frank Chacon, the third FIU pitcher, allowed a run on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts to register the win and improve to 1-2 on the year. Alex Demchak tossed the final inning to notch his third save.
The regular season concludes with the Golden Eagles playing FIU at 10 a.m. CT Saturday. Heading into the final day of the regular season, Southern Miss holds third place in the C-USA standings, trailing both Marshall (21-8) and Florida Atlantic (20-8).