FIU scored five runs in the fourth inning and Steven Casey worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the ninth inning as the Panthers topped No. 12 Southern Miss, 5-4, Saturday night at Infinity Insurance Park.FIU (17-18, 7-7 Conference USA) evened the three-game series with USM (23-11, 9-4 C-USA). The teams play the decisive game of the series Sunday at 12 p.m.Down 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Panthers struck for five runs. Austin Shenton and Eddie Silva had back-to-back singles to open the frame. Christian Khawam was hit by a pitch from USM starter Walker Powell (3-2) to load the bases. Lorenzo Hampton, Jr. then lined a triple into the right center field gap to clear the bases.Will Saxton followed Hampton and golfed a two-run home run down the right field line to make it 5-1, FIU. It was Saxton’s second home run of the season. The freshman was 2 for 3.FIU starter Andres Nunez (3-2) pitched six solid innings. The junior right-hander allowed five hits, two runs, two walks and struck out seven.Tyler Myrick went 2 2/3 innings in relief of Nunez before running into trouble with two outs in the ninth.The Golden Eagles chipped away at the Panthers lead to cut it to 5-4 in the final frame.With two outs in the top of the ninth, USM sluggers Luke Reynolds and Matt Wallner hit consecutive singles and Myrick hit Hunter Slater with a pitch to load the bases.In came Casey, who fell behind 2-1 to Bryant Bowen before inducing the USM catcher to ground out to second baseman Silva for the final out. Casey recorded his second save of the season.
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