June 1, 2003
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Baylor rallied for three runs in the eighth to beat 12th-ranked Southern Miss 3-2 Sunday afternoon, propelling the 14th-ranked Bears into a Super Regional for just the second time in school history.
The 2003 Baylor squad (44-21) joins the 1999 Bears team in making a Super Regional. Baylor had to fight off a ninth-inning rally by host Southern Miss (47-16) that saw the golden Eagles strand the tying run on third base.
Trailing 2-0 through seven innings, the Bears scored three unearned runs in the eighth to take the lead. With one out in the inning, Kyle Reynolds bouncer back through the box deflected off starter Anthony Dewitt's glove. Dewitt recovered to field the ball, but his throw to first was wide and got past the first baseman, allowing Reynolds to reach second base.
USM brought in closer Austin Tubb (3-2), and the Bears countered by sending up Zach Dillon to pinch hit for Kevin Sevigny. Dillon grounded out, advancing Reynolds to third. Chris Durbin worked a walk, and tournament Most Outstanding Player David Murphy came through with a double to left that scored Reynolds and Durbin to tie the game. Josh Ford then blooped a single into center that scored Murphy with the go-ahead run.
Baylor starter Ryan LaMotta (7-2) pitched into the ninth, his longest outing of the season. The true freshman got the first out in the ninth, then gave up a hit to right that DH Griff Israel stretched into a double. Closer Zane Carlson took over for an exhausted LaMotta.
After a wild pitch moved pinch-runner Adam Smith to third, Carlson struck out Adam Hoffpauir and got Jason Lowery to ground out to second to end the game. Carlson earned his 11th save of the year and the 34th of his career.
Southern Miss scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Israel led off the frame with a double to right-center, took third on a groundout and scored on a two-out single by shortstop Matt Shepherd.
USM added another run in the seventh. Back-to-back singles started the inning, and Lowery brought home the Eagles' second run with a groundout to third for a 2-0 Southern Miss lead.
A Pete Taylor Park-record crowd of 4,601 fans saw Murphy named the tournament Most Outstanding Player after hitting .500 (5-for-10) on the weekend. Murphy was joined on the all-tournament team by first baseman Mark Saccomanno, shortstop Trey Webb, third baseman Michael Griffin, and LaMotta.
The Bears advance to the Super Regional against the winner of the Baton Rouge Regional, where LSU and UNC-Wilmington are battling. Sites and times will be announced Monday at 11 a.m. CT.