It’s only the beginning of April, but Scott Berry already viewed Sunday’s series finale with Western Kentucky as a must-win game.
“We talked last night about the body of work that we have put together in the last 8 games and it was just good enough for a 4-4 record,” Berry said.
So the Golden Eagles stepped things up, pounding Western Kentucky 14-1 to win their eighth consecutive Conference USA series. They are now 22-9 overall and 8-3 in conference play, which puts them a half game behind Louisiana Tech and Florida Atlantic for first in the league.
“I felt like the things that we identified that we haven’t been doing well or that we need to correct and do well, obviously, we did them today,” Berry said.
“We were just trying to be prepared mentally to try and get the rhythm back so we could just win the game,” Gabe Montenegro, who finished with three hits and three RBI, said.
Montenegro and Matthew Guidry launched back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the sixth to push the lead to 14-1. Southern Miss jumped out quick on the Hilltoppers, leading 7-0 through three innings. USM scored in every inning but one and the game got called in the seventh due to a run rule.
But Berry was really impressed with Walker Powell, who threw seven innings of three-hit, one-run baseball.
“It started on the mound with Walker Powell,” Berry said. “He controlled the momentum in our favor the whole day and it was complimented by our offense. For Walker to come out in a situation in what I felt like was really a must-win for us as a club, boy, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”