Southern Miss Pitcher Justin Storm shuts down Penn on June 4, 2023, in the game on regional final. (Photo from USM Baseball social media)
The Golden Eagles will take on the Penn Quakers today in the regional final. A win sends them on to face Tennessee in the super regional.
Southern Miss, the Sun Belt Conference champions, didn’t make it easy on themselves, but they are in the driver’s seat with one game left in the Auburn Regional on the road to Omaha.
The Golden Eagles, now with a 44-18 overall record, opened the regional as a no. 2 seed with a 4-2 10-inning loss to the Samford Bulldogs on Friday. It was only the fourth loss for the USM team since April 22nd.
But Southern Miss came back out on Saturday afternoon with a vengeance, taking on regional host Auburn in an elimination game. Auburn, the no. 13 national seed, lost the previous evening to Penn in extra innings in a surprising turn of events. The Golden Eagles ended the Tigers’ season with a 7-2 win at Plainsman Park.
The win versus Auburn set up a rematch for USM with Samford after Penn beat the Bulldogs. Southern Miss was neck and neck with Samford through 5 innings on Sunday afternoon but finally took command of the game with a 4-run 6th inning. The Golden Eagles added a run in both the 8th and 9th innings to take the 9-4 win over Samford, setting up a must win game versus unbeaten Penn 90-minutes later.
Southern Miss led 3-2 after 6 innings against the Quakers in the late game but busted the game wide open in the 9th with 8 runs. USM Pitcher Justin Storm entered in game in relief in 4th inning with Southern Miss down 2-1. He went on to retire 17 of the 18 hitters he faced, shutting down the Quakers’ offense.
Now the Golden Eagles will play in the regional final on Monday at 2 p.m. looking to send Penn home. This will be USM’s fourth consecutive NCAA regional tournament finals appearance.
The winner of today’s game will move on to face Tennessee in the Super Regional after the Volunteers won the Clemson Regional.