Baylor rallies to steal regional from USM Eagles
By By Shawn Wansley / EMG sports writer
June 2, 2003
HATTIESBURG After watching the University of Southern Mississippi put up 36 runs Saturday, the Baylor University Bears knew they had better have a plan going into Sunday's battle with the Golden Eagles.
Freshman pitcher Ryan LaMotta scattered six hits over 8 1/3 innings and the Bears took advantage of an error in the eighth inning to score three runs
and defeat Southern Miss 3-2 here Sunday afternoon for the championship of the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional.
The game was played before a record crowd of 4,601 fans here at Pete Taylor Park.
The victory lifts Baylor, 44-21, into a best-of-three Super Regional this
weekend at LSU. Southern Miss ends the year at 47-16.
Golden Eagle starter Anthony Dewitt kept Baylor off the scoreboard until the eighth inning. Then an unfortunate play got the Bears rolling and knocked Dewitt out of the game.
With one out, Baylor's Kyle Reynolds lined a shot back at Dewitt. When
Dewitt threw the pitch, he felt a twinge in his arm. He chased the ball
down, but threw it away at first base, allowing Reynolds to take second on a
Palmer went to ace reliever, submariner Austin Tubb.
He got pinch-hitter Zach Dillon to ground out, but leadoff batter Chris
Durbin drew a walk. Rightfielder David Murphy then came to the plate and hit
Tubb's first pitch into the left field corner, scoring Reynolds and Durbin.
Bear catcher Josh Ford then came up and, with an 0-2 count, blooped the
game-winning single into shallow center.
The Eagles had one more chance in the bottom of the ninth.
With one out, Israel got a base hit to right and stretched it into a double
when he saw the outfielder take a little extra time to get to the ball.
quipped. "Coach Palmer has gotten on me before on things like that. But it
was just instinctive, really. I knew it was a risk, but I was determined and
made it happen."
Baylor coach Steve Smith then went to the bullpen and brought in reliever Zane Carlson.
Carlson promptly threw a wild pitch to move Israel to third. Hoffpauir worked the count full, but chased a high fastball to strike out.
Lowery then hit a bullet at second baseman Reynolds, who fielded it and
threw to first baseman Mark Saccomanno for the game's final out, touching
off a celebration by a few hearty souls who had made the trip from Waco,
(starting) pitchers threw extremely well."
The two through five hitters in the Eagle lineup Marc Maddox, Jeff Cook,
Brad Willcutt and Clint King were a combined 1-for-16 in the game. King
had an infield hit in the second.
The Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the fifth.
Designated hitter Israel led off with a double to right-center. LaMotta then struck out Jarrett Hoffpauir. Jason Lowery's grounder to short advanced Israel to third and Beau Griffin drew a two-out walk. Matt Shepherd then singled to right to score Israel.
Southern Miss added a run in the seventh when Israel singled to right and went to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Hoffpauir.
Lowery's grounder to third scored Israel, but LaMotta got Griffin to pop out
on a bunt and Shepherd on a grounder to first to end the inning.
LaMotta improves to 7-2 with the win, while Carlson notched his 11th save. Tubb, 3-2, took the loss.