USM's Stewart four-hits Bulldogs
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
April 18, 2002
HATTIESBURG He may not like to be a called a stopper, but on Wednesday night, Daniel Stewart was just what the Southern Mississippi baseball needed.
Stewart, a West Lauderdale High product and a former Meridian Community College ace, pitched a complete-game, four-hitter to lift the Golden Eagles to a 6-3 decision over visiting Mississippi State here at Pete Taylor Park before 3,835 fans.
Stewart's gem came one night after the Bulldogs buried USM 19-2. The Golden Eagle staff issued 13 walks in the lopsided Tuesday loss, their third in a row.
Control was not an issue for Stewart, who walked only two. His only shaky inning was the second where the Bulldogs scored two runs off three hits.
The aforementioned four-run rally came in the bottom of the sixth after State went up 3-1 following an unearned run in the top half of the inning.
The rally started with a double down the line by another former Allen Winningham, another former MCCer, off MSU reliever Chris Young. Jeff Cook walked as did Griff Israel after a fly out. Clint Stoy then singled in Winningham and Cook to tie the game at 3-3.
Brian Owens came in for State to face Clint King in a lefty against lefty matchup. King won the battle, sending a high chop to Bulldog second baseman Chad Henry. The hop was enough to allow Israel to score the go-ahead run. Stoy then scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3.
USM added a run in the seventh when Carlos Velasquez walked and then scored on a two-run single by Cook off the Bulldogs' fifth pitcher of the night in Stephen Dowe.
Stewart retired the last eight Bulldogs faced. The lone base-runner was erased on a double-play.
Mississippi State head coach Ron Polk said Stewart was the difference.
USM head coach Corky Palmer was elated to see his team rise up behind Stewart.
Stewart said mixing it up was key.
The Bulldogs struck for two runs in the second following a two-run hit by Michael Brown. That prompted Palmer's visit and Stewart cruised until the sixth when two errors and a single by Brent Lewis scored the Dogs' third run.
USM was held scoreless by State starter Ryan Carroll until the fifth when Clint King blasted a solo home run to make it 2-1.
Stoy and King each drove in two runs to lead USM who improves to 25-14 on the season. Winningham and Israel's doubles were the other Eagle hits. USM returns to action this weekend with a Conference USA series at St. Louis.
Mississippi State, now 22-13-1, was led by Brown's two RBIs. Young took the loss in relief to fall to 4-1.
The Bulldogs return to action with a SEC road series at Auburn beginning Friday.