Gazebo Gazette

Danny Lynch’s sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth broke a deadlocked score in helping lift No. 11 national seed Southern Miss to an 8-7 NCAA Hattiesburg Regional title game victory over LSU Monday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.

The Golden Eagles (47-17) faced a herculean task of having to win three games over a 27-hour period that included a 10-inning, 4-3 win to eliminate Kennesaw State before beating LSU Sunday night, 8-4 to set up the final matchup.

Southern Miss then added its deciding victory Monday afternoon on a hot South Mississippi to lift the Golden Eagles to their second-ever Super Regional – the other coming in 2009 – and first time hosting the event.

“It’s special, it is something we have never been able to do and now we can check that box,” said Southern Miss coach Scott Berry who has led the program to eight NCAA Tournaments and now one Super Regional appearance. “We’ve been only a part of one super regional in 2009 (as a program) in Florida. Certainly that was an exciting time. I’m the only one of our staff that was a part of that and I know that feeling. That’s what I told the team, that you understand the feeling of this regional, but the feeling of winning a super regional to go to Omaha is even more special.”

With the game tied at 7-7 in the ninth, NCAA Hattiesburg Regional most outstanding player Christopher Sargent opened the frame with a single that extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

After a Slade Wilks single sent Sargent to third, Danny Lynch – who went 3-for-4 in the game to extend his hitting streak to a current team-best 12 games – lined a sacrifice fly to left scoring Sargent from third.

Tyler Stuart, who came in with two outs in the eighth, ended the threat with a strikeout before retiring all three hitters he faced in the ninth to garner the win and improve to 3-0.

Tanner Hall got the start and went two-plus innings, before the Golden Eagles went to the pen three times – calling on Chandler Best, Dalton Rogers and Landon Harper to get big outs – before Stuart slammed the door to end the contest.

Things started quickly for the Golden Eagles as Carson Paetow opened the game with a home run over the right field wall. It marked the first time since Gabe Montenegro started a contest with a homer since Feb. 26, 2021, against UConn to give him his 16th blast of the year.

The Tigers (40-22) did not let the Golden Eagle lead stay long as they posted three runs in the bottom of the frame.

LSU bunched together three singles and an error off starter Tanner Hall with Tre’ Morgan driving in two runs and ad Jordan Thompson knocking in the other with a single of his own.

Two innings later, Cade Doughty increased LSU’s lead with a solo home run, his 15th, to left and the score was 4-1.

The Golden Eagles got on the board with two runs in the fourth. Sargent opened the frame with a single. After a walk to Slade Wilks and a single by Lynch, Southern Miss manufactured the runs on a passed ball and an RBI groundout from Gabe Montenegro.

With the score at 4-3 heading into the seventh, Paetow opened the frame with a walk and Dustin Dickerson then got hit by a pitch. Reece Ewing then put down a bunt that LSU pitcher that Devin Fontenot misplayed to help load the bases.

After a Sargent sacrifice fly to tie the game, Wilks then gave Southern Miss the lead with an RBI single to left. Montenegro then helped extend the advantage with a two-run single to right.

Again, though, the Tigers rallied and tied the score after plating two runs in the bottom of the seventh on run-scoring single by Morgan and Thompson, before Gavin Dugas homered in the eighth to tie the score at 7-7. It was his fifth blast of the season.

The final of seven LSU pitchers, Eric Reyzelman, suffered the loss and fell to 1-3. Reyzelman gave up a run on three hits with a strikeout.

Joining Sargent and Lynch on the all-regional team was Hall, Hurston Waldrep, Will McGillis.

Southern Miss will play Ole Miss in the Super Regional for a berth in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.  The series will be a best of three.

(Photo by Southern Miss Athletics)