USM peppers Rice, 10-1

Baseball(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | WAFB)
Updated: May. 1, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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HOUSTON, Texas (WDAM) _ On a day when the University of Southern Mississippi pounded out 15 hits, scored 10 runs and saw Ben Ethridge turn in another superb Saturday pitching performance, the Golden Eagles lost ground in Conference USA’s West Division race.

Danny Lynch had four hits and Dustin Dickerson and Blake Johnson combined to drive in five runs at the bottom of the Golden Eagles’ batting order as No. 22 USM beat Rice University 10-1 at Reckling Park.

Ethridge allowed four hits over seven, shutout innings, and USM (28-14, 15-7 C-USA) broke the game open by scoring five runs over a two-inning stretch.

But the Golden Eagles’ loss to the Owls in the first game of a Friday doubleheader caught up with them in the West Division standings Saturday.

West Division leader, No. 16 Louisiana Tech University (31-11, 17-6), swept a doubleheader at Middle Tennessee State Saturday with a pair of one-run decisions to pick up a half-game on second-place USM.

The Bulldogs stretched their win streak on the road to nine games to move 1 ½ games ahead of the Golden Eagles.

Still, USM couldn’t have done much more or much better Saturday.

The Golden Eagles grabbed a 3-0 lead in the third inning on Dickerson’s single, Reed Trimble’s groundout and the first of Charlie Fischer’s two doubles.

USM tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning on Johnson’s sacrifice fly and another Dickerson run-scoring single.

Johnson’s single and Dickerson’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning gave USM a 7-0 lead, and Reece Ewing’s single in the seventh made the score 8-0.

USM went up 10-0 on Fischer’s second double and a wild pitch in the eighth inning, but Rice (18-25-1, 6-16-1) sent the game into the ninth inning by scratching a run in the bottom of the eighth on Austin Bulman’s grounder.

Dickerson finished with two singles, a run scored and three RBIs. Lynch had a double and three singles and scored twice, while Johnson went 3-for-3 with three singles, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Rice finished with seven hits, including a pair single by Cade Edwards and a double by Bulman.

Rice starting pitcher Roel Garcia (1-4) gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings.

Ethridge (5-1), who was C-USA’s reigning Pitcher of the Week, issued two walks and struck out seven.

The teams conclude the four-game conference series at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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