Keeping Score

USM baseball team struggling to find its way

The Southern Miss baseball team fell 13-4 to Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday afternoon in one of the uglier efforts I've seen at Pete Taylor Park.

The Golden Eagles committed five errors, all on the infield, and the pitching staff gave up 13 runs on 14 hits while walking seven.

“We played as poorly as we have all year in all phases,” USM coach Scott Berry said.

USM sits at 7-7 as it failed to capitalize on Friday's series-opening, 9-2, win over ULL.

The frustration of not meeting high expectations is obviously setting in for Berry and his players.

The 2012 USM team fell short of the postseason with a 32-24 record thanks to a roster full of inexperienced players. This year's inconsistency is harder to explain.

"This is D-1 baseball," senior catcher Chase Fowler said. "Youth shouldn't be an excuse. We can't make that our crutch. Guys have been in this program for one year. We can't come out here and take anything for granted."

USM fell apart during the fifth inning when ULL batted around and put up six runs. The Cajuns put up three more runs in the sixth on three USM errors.

"I don't think we are a very mature team right now," Berry said. "We don't deal with things well when they start going wrong."

Nick Johnson threw 3.1 innings of scoreless ball to close out the game for USM, but the bullpen struggled after replacing starter Jake Drehoff in the fifth inning. James McMahon and Cameron Giannini combined to give up six earned runs on four hits without getting a batter out in the fifth.

Drehoff falls to 0-2 after giving up four runs, three earned, on four hits in four innings.

USM hasn't won back-to-back games since a sweep in the season-opening series against Missouri.

Berry hopes that junior college transfer Conor Fisk, a right-handed pitcher, will turn the weekend around when he gets the start in Sunday's 1 p.m. game against ULL. It will be Fisk's first appearance of the season after a shoulder injury prevented him from throwing early in the campaign.