Southern Miss downed by Louisiana on Scott Berry Day
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns crashed the Scott Berry Day ceremony Friday night, downing Southern Miss 6-0 to even the weekend series at one game apiece.
With “thank you, 40″ passionately voiced by fans inside Pete Taylor Park, the current Southern Miss head baseball coach Scott Berry was honored with a standing ovation from players and the USM faithful under a different variation of Friday night lights before the start of the contest after he announced he was retiring at the end of the season. Berry is the winningest head coach in Southern Miss baseball history with 518 wins and counting in 14 years at the helm of the program.
Standing ovation for LEGENDARY and the winningest head coach in Southern Miss baseball history, Scott Berry. What a way to go out, truly special. #SMTTT 🟡⚫️🦅 pic.twitter.com/tib1YiUgjp— Garrett Busby (@gsbusby) May 20, 2023
“I was so honored and I feel so blessed being here for 23 years and 14 as the head coach,” Coach Berry said. “A lot of these people here are just people that I’ve known... It was such an honor to have my family out there as well to honor them. Outside of my marriage and the birth of my two kids, it was probably the most special thing I’ve experienced.”
However, the Ragin’ Cajuns didn’t get the memo.
An RBI single and solo home run from Louisiana in the top of the first inning stunned the Golden Eagles as the Ragin’ Cajuns crashed the ceremony by taking an early 2-0 lead.
After giving up the two runs, Southern Miss starting pitcher Billy Oldham began to settle in, holding Louisiana scoreless for the next three innings. But, a rare error at second base from freshman sensation and Brandon native Nick Monistere allowed the Louisiana runner to score from third and give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning.
Freshman relief pitcher Kros Sivley entered the game for Oldham with the bases loaded and was able to get out of the fifth-inning jam. However, Sivley showed his youth in the sixth inning after an errant attempted scoop pass with his glove to first base sparked a three-run inning to double the Louisiana lead to 6-0.
An RBI double and a two-run home run in the fourth put Louisiana up 10-0 in the top of the seventh inning and would ultimately win the ballgame 10-1 thanks to a consolation solo home run from Southern Miss center fielder Matthew Etzel. The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak, the longest in the country.
“In the fourteen games prior to this one, we’ve played well and deserved to win. But tonight, we really just didn’t do a whole lot. Really disappointed... we didn’t do enough and didn’t handle the pressure they applied on us,” Coach Berry said about the loss.
“Louisiana punched us in the mouth, and we didn’t punch back,” Coach Berry continued. “You gotta credit the guy [for Louisiana] on the mound as well. He was throwing something that was a swing-and-miss pitch.”
The Southern Miss bats were nearly nonexistent in the contest, only compiling five hits in the ballgame. Louisiana had three times that amount with 15 base hits.
Despite the hefty defeat, the Golden Eagles have a chance to make amends on Senior Day for Coach Berry by securing the series win in the rubber match Saturday afternoon.
The first pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Pete Taylor Park.
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