Southern Miss wins big, advances to championship game in Auburn Regional

(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)(Matthew Hinton | AP)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 12:06 AM CDT
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AUBURN, Ala. (WLBT) - The Southern Miss Golden Eagles will play for the Auburn Regional Championship after beating the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on the brink of elimination, led by clutch performances from a trio of Mississippi natives.

It was the second time Southern Miss faced elimination in the Auburn Regional, defeating Samford 9-4 earlier that day.

Brandon native Nick Monistere, Madison native Justin Storm, and Vancleave native Carson Paetow put their hypothetical rally caps on and led USM to victory after head coach Scott Berry’s team fell behind Penn twice.

The Quakers scored the first run of the game as Wyatt Henseler hit a solo home run. In the top of the second inning, Monistere hit an RBI single to tie the ballgame at 1-1.

USM loaded the bases in the same inning but was unable to capitalize. However, it would not haunt the Golden Eagles this go-around.

The Quakers took the lead once again in the third, but the Golden Eagles did what they’ve been doing all weekend, respond with runs of their own.

With Monistere on first, Paetow smoked a line-drive triple down the right-field line, and that scored the freshman to tie the game at 2-apiece. While sliding safely into this base, Penn committed a throwing error that allowed Paetow to cross home plate to give Southern Miss their first lead of the game.

Southern Miss closer Justin Storm entered the game in relief of starting pitcher and fellow Madison native Niko Mazza after three and a third innings. After a rough outing against Samford Friday, Storm responded with an exceptional performance on the mound, tossing 5.2 innings while fanning a whopping 10 Penn batters, a career-high.

A two-run RBI single from Monistere and a three-run bomb from shortstop Dustin Dickerson sparked an eight-run ninth inning. Storm retired a total of 16-straight batters and closed out the game and giving Southern Miss a convincing 11-2 heading into the regional championship game Monday at 2 p.m.

Southern Miss has now won six-straight games when facing elimination in regional play dating back to two seasons.

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