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franklin county times

Russum powers USM past Ole Miss

By By Jeff Byrd / sports editor
April 10, 2003
HATTIESBURG For most of the season, Southern Mississippi has used power hitting to power its way to a No. 23 ranking in the latest Baseball America poll.
On Wednesday night at a chilly Pete Taylor Park in front of 2,964 fans, the Golden Eagles turned to the power-pitching of sophomore Cliff Russum. Russum overpowered the Rebels pitching a complete game in an 8-2 USM win.
The Golden Eagles improve to 24-9 with the victory and now look forward to a home Conference USA series with Charlotte. Ole Miss slips to 20-12 with the loss.
USM head coach and a former Meridian Community College skipper Corky Palmer said Russum's last three starts, all wins, have been key to his team.
Russum, now 4-4, retired the first 11 Rebel batters in order. The string included five strike outs. Seth Smith drew a two-out walk in the fourth.
Barry Gunter then got a lead off hit in the sixth. He was quickly erased on a double-play. Ole Miss did not get a runner to second base until a leadoff double by Stephen Head in the eighth. By then, USM was ahead 5-0.
Charlie Waite did tag Russum for a two-run shot with one out in the eighth to make it 5-2. It would be the Rebel's third of four hits for the game.
USM answered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth allowing Russum to go back out in the ninth to finish the contest. He allowed a hit and a walk in the ninth but finished off with a fly-out by former MCC player Dustin Cliburn.
For the game, Russum struck out 11, walked two and scattered four hits.
Ole Miss started freshman Brae Wright he threw four good innings before getting tagged for three runs in the fourth.
USM finished with 12 hits. Four of the top five Eagles in the line-up had two hits apiece.
Two Ole Miss errors in the third inning led USM to its first run. The Eagles added three more in the fifth.
Another former MCC player in Adam Smith led off with a single. Following a sacrifice, Matt Shepherd and Lowery followed with singles to bring Smith home for a 2-0 lead.
A single to left by Brad Willcutt with two out scored Shepherd. Clint King then doubled to left to knock in Lowery for a 4-0 lead.
USM got one of those homers in the seventh when King belted his 11th of the season with a solo shot way over the trees in right center. That made it 5-0.
Four hits in the bottom of the eighth created a three-run rally that boosted a 5-2 lead to an 8-2 cushion.
King led USM going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Lowery was 2-for-5 with two RBI. Shepherd had two hits and two runs. Willcutt had two hits and Smith scored twice.
Ole Miss was paced by Waite's home run.

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