HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Tennessee tried to rally from a four-run deficit but was unable to complete its comeback effort in game one of the NCAA Hattiesburg Super Regional, falling 5-3 to Southern Miss at Pete Taylor Park.
The first 4.1 innings were played on Saturday afternoon, but due to inclement weather in the area, the contest had to be suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning and resumed on Sunday morning.
Unlike in all three games of the regional last weekend, the Vols failed to strike first in game one of this weekend's super regional. The Golden Eagles, playing as the visiting team on the scoreboard, jumped out to a 2-0 in the top of the first after a two-out triple by Tate Parker.
After being retired in order in the second, USM extended its advantage to 3-0 with a solo home run off the bat of Dustin Dickerson in the top of the third.
The game went into a weather delay with UT threatening in the bottom of the fourth. Hunter Ensley singled to left field to give the Big Orange their first base runner prior to Griffin Merritt getting hit by a pitch to put two on with two outs for Christian Moore before the game was halted with a 2-2 count due to lightning detected in the area.
The total time of the delay was 1-hour, 35-minutes before action resumed. USM starter Billy Oldham tossed a ball to run the count full before getting Moore to strike out swinging to end the threat.
The resumption of play lasted just 13 minutes before the weather put a stop to things again as more lightning was detected in the area.
UT starter Andrew Lindsey finished with five strikeouts but allowed four runs on six hits in just four innings before making way for Camden Sewell, who struck out three in a scoreless fifth before the second delay began and the game was ultimately suspended.
When play restarted with a runner on first and one out, the Vols were able to rally for three two-out runs to cut their deficit to one. Ensley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before Jared Dickey drove in two more runs with a single to center field.
The Golden Eagles (46-18) responded with a big insurance run in the top of the sixth to make it a 5-3 game. Parker led off the inning with a double, which was the only hit allowed by reliever Seth Halvorsen in four innings of work, before eventually scoring on an RBI fielder's choice by Carson Paetow.
Tennessee brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh and ninth innings but were unable to drive them in off of Southern Miss ace reliever Justin Storm, who allowed just two hits in 4.1 scoreless innings to pick up his seventh win of the season.
UP NEXT: The Vols (41-20) will have to quickly turn the page for game two of the super regional, which is slated to begin at 3 p.m. ET Sunday afternoon on ESPN. UT must win to force a decisive game three on Monday.