Southern Miss shortstop Storme Cooper had never belted a home run in his collegiate career. That changed in the top of the fifth inning on Friday. Cooper tied the game at one off of a 3-2 pitch from Arizona State ace Alec Marsh.
It’d just be the start of a nightmare frame for the Sun Devils. USM scored 11 more runs in the fifth on its way to a 15-3 win.
After Cooper, a double, walk and a single handed the Golden Eagles the lead they never relinquished.
Marsh picked up the second out having allowed only two runs, but a wild pitch from him led to the third run. Following a walk, Marsh was replaced by freshman Blake Burzell. Burzell didn’t record an out. Southern Miss had four straight singles including Cooper’s two-run infield single.
The powerful right fielder Matt Wallner added the exclamation point to the 12-run barrage with his three-run homer.
The Sun Devil offense didn’t add much fight either. Before Marsh’s exit, ASU only netted one run via a Lyle Lin sacrifice fly. USM starter Gage Shepard held responsible for limiting the Sun Devils. His electric stuff was on display early when he punched out Spencer Torkelson and Hunter Bishop in the first inning behind a 95-plus mph heater.
Torkelson got revenge in the sixth with his 22nd home run of the year. Shepard left later on in the inning, having finished at 5.2 innings pitched, two runs allowed on six hits and four strikeouts.
The Golden Eagles added another three-run bomb in the eighth. ASU put together another run in the ninth.
ASU will fight for its season on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Arizona time against the loser of Stony Brook and LSU later on Friday.