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Southern Miss keeps C-USA win streak alive

By By Robby Atkinson/staff writer
April 18, 2004
HATTIESBURG The Southern Miss Golden Eagles wanted to keep its consecutive streak of Conference USA series victories intact on Saturday afernoon. USM did just that and much more.
The Golden Eagles pounded out 14 hits and got a solid pitching performance out of the bullpen from Daniel Best to take a 10-5 Conference USA win over Memphis at Pete Taylor Park during Eaglefest weekend.
Southern Miss (29-7, 12-2) has now won nine straight Conference USA series and will look for the sweep over the Tigers Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Best entered the game in relief of starting pitcher Anthony DeWitt and pitched 5.2 innings to improve to 3-2 for the season. Best allowed only one earned run and four hits, while collecting four strikeouts.
The Southern Miss offense showed up in a big way in the first inning to take a 4-0 lead over the Tigers. Jarrett Hoffpauir started the inning off with a single and scored the first run of the afternoon on a double by Ryan Frith to give the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead. Frith later crossed the plate on single by Carlos Valasquez to extend the lead to 2-0.
Brad Wilcutt then made the score 4-0 on a towering home run to left field to give him five for the season. All of the runs scored in the first inning by the Golden Eagles came with two outs.
Memphis (17-14, 6-8) cut the lead to 4-2 in the top of the second inning thanks to a couple of big two-out hits. Josh Payne started the early rally with a single and Michael Lewis followed with a single to put a pair of runners aboard for Chad House. House drove both runs in with a single to left field to cut the score to 4-2.
The Tigers tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the third inning with one run coming off a triple from Ryan Martin off the wall in left field and the second run of the inning scoring on a single by Adam Amar to center field.
Southern Miss fought back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on a two-run single by Hoffpauir to make the score 6-4. Memphis fought back in the next inning with one run to cut the score to 6-5. Martin smashed a home run over the wall in left field to bring the Tigers to within striking distance.
USM put the game away in the bottom of the fifth with three more runs to increase the lead to 9-5. The first run crossed the plate in the fifth on an RBI double by Jason Lowery and the Golden Eagles got an added bonus moments later from its number nine hitter in the lineup.
Beau Griffin ripped his second home run of the season with a two-run blast to left center to give the Golden Eagles a four-run lead.
The Golden Eagles added one more run in the sixth inning to make the score 10-5. Former Meridian Community College standout Nathan Sanders entered the game in the third inning due to an injury to Velasquez and made the most of his appearance.
Sanders doubled to right center field and advanced to third base on an error in the outfield by Memphis. Sanders scored moments later on a wild pitch to help the Golden Eagles extend the lead to five runs. The double for Sanders was his first hit in a Southern Miss uniform.
Derek Hankins took the loss on the mound for Memphis and dropped his record to 4-4 for the season. Hankins pitched four innings and allowed seven earned runs, while striking out six.