by Hunter Dawkins
For the fourth consecutive year, the Southern Miss (USM) Golden Eagles will play for the Conference USA Championship Sunday at MGM Park in Biloxi. The Golden Eagles will play the Florida Atlantic Owls at 1pm, thanks to the combined no-hitter tossed Saturday morning against Rice University 6-0 in the Conference USA Semifinals.
Southern Miss Freshman Pitcher Gabe Shepard threw a 7 1/3 inning no-hit shutout, striking out 12. Relief pitchers Cody Carroll and Hunter Stanley came in to finish the no-hitter, as USM defeated the Rice Owls.
“A special game everybody got to witness today,” said USM Head Baseball Coach Scott Berry. “As a coach, you are always looking for consistency.”
USM entered the tournament in Biloxi losing six out of the last ten games and the top seed. After falling behind by Rice 4-0 in 7 innings, the Golden Eagles dug in offensively and pulled out the victory 6-4 in 10 innings. Following this brow beater, USM won easily over Marshall 10-5 on the second day to propel them to the semis.
Southern Miss designated hitter Bryant Bowen knocked two home runs out of the ballpark while USM outfielder Matt Wallner hit a three run bomb over the right field scoreboard to secure the victory.
In 2018, USM defeated Florida Atlantic 12-3 to win the tournament and earn an automatic NCAA Regional spot.