Southern Miss completes sweep of North Alabama with 14-1 Sunday victory
Published 3:11 pm Monday, February 21, 2022
Blake Johnson and Slade Wilks combined to drive in nine runs, while starting pitcher Hurston Waldrep fanned 11 over 5 1/3 innings to lead Southern Miss to a 14-1 Sunday afternoon victory over North Alabama to complete a three-game weekend at Pete Taylor Park.
After drawing 4,860 for the Sunday contest, the Golden Eagles drew 14,006 fans for the three-game set, marking the second-highest opening weekend attendance in the school’s history.
The Golden Eagles (3-0) scored three runs in four separate innings and two more in one more frame as they outscored the Lions (3-0) 29-5 in the set.
Both Johnson and Wilks, which hit No. 9 and No. 8 in the batting order, respectively, each went 3-for-3 in the contest. Johnson drove in five runs and Wilks knocked in four as he was a home run short of the cycle in the game.
“I was very happy to see Slade (Wilks) come out and do what he did,” said Southern Miss baseball coach Scott Berry. “I know the first couple of games he kind of struggled and certainly this young man has a tremendous upside and potential. Hopefully that will give him some confidence and get him going.”
Danny Lynch added two hits to extend his team-best hitting streak to 14 games dating back to last season, while Reece Ewing also added a pair of hits and an RBI.
Waldrep limited the Lions to three hits and fanned seven UNA hitters at one point in the contest as he also walked one and gave up his only run on an RBI single to Drew Hudson in the fifth.
“We have seen it in the fall and saw it in the spring during the preseason,” said Berry of Waldrep’s success in his first start. “And I am glad to see how it carried over today.”
Five Golden Eagle relievers limited the Lions to just one hit down the stretch and fanned six with no walks to complete a solid showing of the pitching staff over the first three games.
UNA starter Austin Nichols allowed six runs on six hits with three walks and no strikeouts over three innings to suffer the loss.
The Golden Eagles return to action when they continue their seven-game, season-opening homestand Tuesday with a 6 p.m. contest against South Alabama.
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