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Riggins' Complete-Game Shutout Leads USM Past Louisiana, 5-0

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Posted at 7:11 PM, Mar 05, 2022

LAFAYETTE – Hunter Riggins pitched Southern Miss’ first complete-game shutout since 2019 and the Golden Eagles collected 10 hits in earning a 5-0 victory over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in a non-conference baseball game Saturday afternoon at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

Gabe Montenegro went 3-for-5 while Danny Lynch and Slade Wilks each recorded a pair of hits as Southern Miss (7-3) scored a pair of runs in the fourth before scoring a pair of unearned runs in the eighth and an insurance run in the ninth.

The rubber game of the three-game series between the future Sun Belt Conference rivals is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and can be heard in the Lafayette area on KPEL-FM 96.5.

Riggins (3-0), who entered the game with 0.87 earned run average in 11.0 innings of work, kept Louisiana (6-5) off balance as the right-hander scattered six hits, struck out five and induced 14 ground ball outs. The Ragin Cajuns’ put the leadoff man on board in four consecutive innings beginning with Connor Kimple’s single up the middle, but Riggins was able to keep Louisiana off the board for the first time since a 1-0 USM win in Hattiesburg on March 21, 2021.

The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning after Lynch led off with a walk off Louisiana starter Dylan Theut (0-2) before Wilks bounced a ground-rule double over the center-field fence.

The Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead on Carson Paetow’s groundout to second to score Lynch before Rodrigo Montenegro doubled into the right-field corner to score Wilks.

Kyle DeBarge and Tyler Robertson led off their respective innings with singles for Louisiana, but the Golden Eagles would get out of the jam with DeBarge thrown out at second on a close play and Robertson being doubled off first after a hard liner to second by Heath Hood.

Riggins, who lowered his ERA to 0.45 in 20.0 innings on the season, did not allow a Louisiana runner past second until the eighth inning when Hood hit a one-out single and moved to third on Julian Brock’s two-out single through the right side. Riggins would be aided by his defense as Bobby Lada’s high chopper behind the mound was fielded by Lynch to end the threat.

USM took a 4-0 lead in the eighth after Reese Ewing reached on an error and scored on Wilks’ RBI double to right. The Golden Eagles would add another run on Will McGillis’ sacrifice fly to center before Lynch would drive in an insurance run in the ninth with a sacrifice fly to right.

Will Veillon went 1-for-4 at the plate for Louisiana, which left three runners on base. Theut took the loss after going 3.2 innings on the mound with five hits, two runs allowed and a strikeout. Jacob Schultz pitched three scoreless innings with three strikeouts for Louisiana while Chipper Menard, Hayden Durke, Austin Perrin and Jake Hammond combined to scatter three hits over the final 2.1 innings.

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