Feb. 7, 2014
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Southern Mississippi opened up the 2014 softball season on the road against Arizona at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and used it to claim a 9-0 victory over the Golden Eagles in five innings.
Offensively, Southern Miss was led by Shelbee Rodgers and Michelle Stringer. The duo each recorded a hit in the game, while each drawing a walk. The Golden Eagles were able to battle and put the ball in play throughout the night, but were unable to come up with timely hits. As a team, Southern Miss struck out just two times and did not strikeout after the first inning.
Defensively, USM managed to turn a double play, while making several good catches in the outfield. Rodgers made a diving catch in right field to end the first inning. In addition, Stringer induced a double play to thwart a Wildcat rally in the second inning.
In the circle, true freshman Samantha Robles took loss for the Golden Eagles. In her first collegiate start, Robles worked 4.0 innings, surrendering nine runs (eight earned runs) on nine hits with a pair of walks.
Arizona was the first team to score, scratching the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. The Wildcats led off the game with back-to-back singles. A double down the right field line scored the lead runner and put the home team in front 1-0. Arizona used back-to-back RBI groundouts to increase its advantage to 3-0. The Golden Eagles ended the inning with a diving catch by Shelbee Rodgers in right field.
The Wildcats added a run in the bottom of the second and the third innings. In the second, Arizona used a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt to place a runner on third base. The run came across on a single, but Southern Miss prevented any further runs with an inning ending double play. In the third, Arizona capitalized off of a pair of miscues by Southern Miss to place a runner on third base. The unearned run scored on a RBI groundout.
UA broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning. Back-to-back leadoff singles started the inning for Arizona. The Wildcats used a walk to load the bases. With the bases loaded and one out, Kellie Fox hit a ball off of the right center field fence for a triple, clearing the bases. With two outs, a single to third base scored the final run of the inning. During the play, the Golden Eagles caught the batter in a rundown, successfully catching the runner and ending the inning.
Trailing 9-0 in the fifth inning, the Golden Eagles were unable to generate the necessary offense to extend the game.
Southern Miss and Arizona continue the series with a single game on Saturday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium. First pitch between the Golden Eagles and Wildcats is slated for 3:00 p.m. (CT) (2:00 p.m. MT). Live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the game.