Southern Miss

Southern Miss falls to Florida State in Tallahassee Regional

JOE HARPER/BIG GOLD PHOTOGRAPHY 
 Southern Miss shortstop Nick Dawson, left, makes the tag on Florida State's Ben Deluzio as he slides into second base during the fifth inning Saturday at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. Deluzio was called safe and FSU won the game 7-2.
JOE HARPER/BIG GOLD PHOTOGRAPHY Southern Miss shortstop Nick Dawson, left, makes the tag on Florida State's Ben Deluzio as he slides into second base during the fifth inning Saturday at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. Deluzio was called safe and FSU won the game 7-2.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Southern Miss baseball team will fight for survival on Sunday.

Pitching woes wiped out a fast start for the Golden Eagles and Florida State rolled to a 7-2 win Saturday in the NCAA Regional at Dick Howser Stadium.

USM (41-19) will play South Alabama (41-21) at 11 a.m. on Sunday in an elimination game. Florida State (39-20) will take on the winner of that game at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

South Alabama beat Alabama State 6-3 in the Saturday morning game to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament, setting up a rematch of USM's 14-2 win over the Jaguars on Friday.

After Saturday's defeat, Southern Miss will have to win three consecutive games in Tallahassee to advance to the Super Regional.

"It seemed like after everything went our way yesterday, not much went our way today," USM coach Scott Berry said. "That was a lot of Florida State's doing."

Florida State's No. 8 and No. 9 batters combined to knock in five runs on Friday. Steven Wells Jr., who batted eighth, knocked in three runs and nine-hole batter Matt Henderson had a pair of RBIs.

Florida State freshman left-hander Tyler Holton (3-3) overcame a bumpy start to pick up the victory. He allowed two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking two.

"He had an inexperienced first inning, but he got his feet on the ground and became poised," FSU coach Mike Martin said.

Southern Miss jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first as Dylan Burdeaux, Jake Sandlin and Tim Lynch all reached to begin the game. Chase Scott brought home Burdeaux from third on a sacrifice fly to left. Hunter Slater knocked Sandlin in from second with a single to right to make it 2-0 before FSU had a chance to bat.

"We had an opportunity to get more than that," Berry said of wasting an opportunity after loading the bases with none out in the first inning.

USM starting pitcher Cord Cockrell allowed just a two-out single in a scoreless bottom of the first, but his recent stamina troubles showed up again in the second inning.

Florida State's Dylan Busby doubled to begin the bottom of the second and Ben Deluzio walked with one out, setting the table for Wells, who lifted a three-run home run off an the image of his face on the videoboard on the left field scoreboard to give the Seminoles a 3-2 lead.

It was the first home run of the season for Wells, who entered the game batting .188.

"I got a pitch middle, in and I was able to turn on it," Wells said. "It was definitely a good feeling."

Cockrell, who hasn't been the same since a sore right shoulder sidelined him in early May, lasted three more batters before being removed after 1 2/3 innings in favor of senior right-hander Jake Winston. Cockrell, whose record dropped to 7-2, gave up three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one.

Winston ended the threat in the second inning by retiring the one man he faced, but he struggled with his control in the third inning. He walked three men in the third, including a bases-loaded walk to Matt Henderson to force home a run and make it 4-2 with two out in the third.

Senior right-hander Nick Johnson entered in the fourth and proved more in control on the mound, but he gave up an RBI single to Henderson in the fifth and a two-run home run to Jackson Lueck in the sixth to give FSU a 7-2 lead after six innings.

Johnson allowed three runs on four hits in two innings.

Southern Miss managed just four hits, two by Hunter Slater, while FSU produced 12. John Sansone led the Seminoles with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate.

Berry said that he was unsure who his starting pitcher will be for Sunday's contest.

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