HATTIESBURG, MS (WLBT) - Matt Guidry singled through the right side, driving in Brant Blaylock with the game-winning run, in lifting No. 21 Southern Miss to a 7-6, 10-inning season-opening victory over Purdue Friday evening at Pete Taylor Park.
Despite a drizzling rain for much of the day, a crowd of 3,413 saw the Golden Eagles capture their fifth-straight, opening-day victory. It also was the first extra-inning opening game for Southern Miss since defeating Nicholls State 1-0 at home to start the 1998 campaign.
The hit was Guidry’s first game winner in his two-plus seasons with the program. It was the first extra-inning walk-off win for the Golden Eagles since Matt Wallner had a game-winning single in the 12th against Rice on March 31, 2018.
With the score tied at 6-6 in the final frame, Brant Blaylock led off the inning with an infield single. Following a pair of flyouts, Gabe Montenegro was hit by a pitch and that set up Guidry’s winning hit. The junior from Hattiesburg worked the count to 2-0 before lacing a pitch through the infield and scoring Blaylock.
The junior, Blaylock, had a nice debut by collecting a pinch-hit homer in the eighth – the first Golden Eagle to accomplish that feat since Erick Hoard did it against Southern on March 20, 2018.
Southern Miss scored solo runs in seven different frames and had to rally from a 6-4 deficit late in the contest. Blaylock cut the deficit to one run in the eighth with his solo homer to left center and the Golden Eagles then tied the score in the ninth when Hunter Slater’s fly ball to center was dropped by Skyler Hunter, allowing Fred Franklin to score from second base and send the game into extra innings.
Slater went 2-for-3 including a solo home run in the sixth to help the Golden Eagles to an early 4-2 lead. The first three Golden Eagle runs were scored via a sacrifice fly from Slater in the third, Cole Donaldson in the fourth and Franklin in the fifth.
Purdue, though, behind a 4-for-4 night from Owen Janson that included three doubles, scored two runs to tie in the seventh and then two more in the eighth to take the 6-4 advantage.
Mason Strickland threw the final 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief with two hits and one walk surrendered to earn the victory, while Austin Peterson, the sixth Boilermaker hurler, allowed an unearned run on two hits over 2/3 to suffer the loss.
The two teams are scheduled to continue the series with a 4 p.m. single contest Saturday.