Bulls drop first game to Eagles

Southern Miss 5, USF 3

Too little too late was the story for the Bulls in their opening-round game of the Conference USA Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss.

After scoring a run in the first inning, the No. 6-seeded Bulls scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but lost to No. 3 Southern Miss 5-3.

The game ended when Matt McHargue, the potential go-ahead run, struck out with runners on first and second.

“We played hard and we battled,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “But their pitchers just got us out when they needed to.”

USF will face No. 7-seed Louisville, who lost to TCU, tonight at 7:30. The loser will be eliminated from the tournament.

The Golden Eagles, who swept USF in the regular season, tied the game in the fourth inning and added two runs in both the sixth and eight innings to seal the victory.

After Brian Baisley drove in a run in the first inning, the Bulls weren’t able to get anything more off Golden Eagle pitcher Barry Bowden, who threw 6.2 innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven.

“He got us to chase pitches in the dirt,” Cardieri said. “So we were down early in most of the counts.”

Casey Hudspeth started for USF, giving up three runs on seven hits in five innings pitched.

USF swept a rain-shortened two-game series against Louisville earlier this season.

“In this league, it just doesn’t matter. Any team can beat any team,” Cardieri said. “We’re just going to have to shake off this loss and be resilient.”