Southern Miss eliminated from C-USA Championship

Published: May. 28, 2022 at 10:42 PM CDT
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Southern Miss Sports Information

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Daniel Garza threw eight solid innings out of the bullpen and the Roadrunners blew open a 4-2 contest with a six-run eight as fifth-seeded UTSA advanced to the 2022 Conference USA Championship title game with an 11-2 victory over host and regular-season champion Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.

Garza (4-1) came on with one on and no outs in the bottom of the second and proceeded to scatter four hits and two walks over his first five innings on the mound. He gave up a pair of runs in the seventh, but bounced back to retire the final seven Golden Eagles to come to the plate to give the Roadrunners their first title-game appearance since 2014.

UTSA, which is 3-0 in its tournament run, improved to 38-19. Southern Miss, meanwhile, fell to 43-16 and will learn of their postseason fate and location on Monday when the NCAA Baseball Championship Selection Show airs on ESPN2 at 11 a.m.

Following a scoreless first, UTSA hung two runs on the scoreboard in each of the next two innings as designated hitter Garrett Poston launched a two-run homer to right in the second while centerfielder Shane Sirdashney lifted a sacrifice fly to right and right fielder Chase Keng laid down a safety squeeze in the third.

Southern Miss cut the deficit in half in the seventh as third baseman Danny Lynch, second baseman Will McGillis and right fielder Carson Paetow hit consecutive singles to open the inning. Paetow’s run drove in Lynch to put the Golden Eagles on the board, and centerfielder Gabe Montenegro followed with an RBI fielder’s choice groundout to make it 4-2. Lynch finished his tournament with eight hits in the team’s four games.

Any talks of a Golden Eagle comeback were quieted in the ensuing inning as shortstop Matt King drove in left fielder Ian Bailey with an RBI single. Third baseman Jonathan Tapia plated a pair with a two-run double to center, second baseman Leyton Barry followed with a double of his own, and Sirdashney ripped a two-run triple to the corner in right to make it 9-2. First baseman Ryan Flores capped the big inning with an RBI single to left central. An inning later, King doubled in Keng all the way from first to account for the final score.

Sirdashney and Poston led UTSA’s 15-hit effort with three apiece, while Barry and King both had two. Lynch and Paetow shared team-high hit honors for Southern Miss with a pair of knocks. Golden Eagles starter Matt Adams (2-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits while striking out four and walking three.

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