Softball Sweeps Day 2 at Sand Dollar Classic
GULF SHORES, Ala. - The Southern Miss softball team won a pair of games on day 2 of the Sand Dollar Classic on Saturday afternoon in Gulf Shores, Ala. The Golden Eagles opened the day with a 17-1 run-rule victory over Ball State before closing out the day with a 4-1 win against Belmont.
On the day, the Black and Gold finished the day .357 at the plate, going 20-for-56 as a team. The team recorded four doubles and a home run, while also drawing 13 walks and with a pair of batters hit by pitches.
Lauren Holifield led the team with four hits on the day, while Rachel Johnson posted a team-best .600 batting average on the day, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Tori Dew, Samantha Papp, Katie Cleary, and Morgan McKeever each recorded multiple hits on the day. Cleary posted the team's first home run of the season, while Dew, Samantha Robles, Kaelyn Christofferson, and Michelle Stringer each added doubles. Dew and Cleary paced the team with four RBI apiece with Robles and Holifield adding three runs batted in.
In the circle, the pitching staff combined for a 1.17 earned run average. The duo of Danielle Block and Robles combined for 12.0 innings, allowing two runs on 13 hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts. Block and Robles each earned their first victories of the season, while Robles was also credited with a save.
Southern Miss concludes play in the Sand Dollar Classic on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. against Lipscomb. Live stats and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the games. NOTE: The Golden Eagles will be the designated HOME team against the Bison.
Game 1 Recap - Softball Erupts for 17-1 Run-Rule Win
Southern Miss started the second day of the Sand Dollar Classic with a 17-1 run-rule victory against Ball State. The Golden Eagles erupted for 10 runs in the third inning en route to the victory. The 10 runs scored in the third were the most in an inning in the Wendy Hogue Era, breaking the previous high of nine runs against UAPB last season - also in the third inning.
The Golden Eagles took the early lead in the first inning. With one out, Holifield singled to left field. She moved into scoring position on a ground out and came around to score on a Papp single to right field.
The Cardinals knotted the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning. The designated home team used a solo home run by India Steward to square things up.
Southern Miss responded with 10 runs on seven hits, batting around for the first time this season. Holifield singled to start off the inning. She moved into scoring position on a groundout. Dew scored Holifield from second on a RBI single to right field. Papp extended the inning with a single. Sarah Evans reached on a fielder's choice. On the play, Ball State dropped the relay to second base allowing Papp to reach safely. With the bases loaded, Robles helped her pitching cause with a three-RBI double to left field. Beth Taylor entered the game to run at second base. Samantha Reynolds and R. Johnson each earned four-pitch walks, loading the bases. McKeever drove home Taylor with a RBI single to left field. Holifield followed with a two-run single to the gap in left. Following a pitching change, Cleary lifted a 3-1 pitch to straight away center field for the team's first home run of the season. The homer was Cleary's third career dinger and extended the lead to 11-1.
The Golden Eagles added six runs on four hits in the fourth inning. Evans walked to start the inning and Robles was hit by a pitch. R. Johnson loaded the bases with an infield single and a Texas-leaguer to center field by McKeever drove in the first run. Holifield drove in a run with a single and Cleary walked to keep the carousel moving. Dew cleared the bases with a double down the right field line, providing the final margin of victory, 17-1.
Game 2 Recap - Softball Completes Sweep with 4-1 Victory Over Belmont
The second game of the day was more of a defensive struggle with Southern Miss scratching out a 4-1 victory over Belmont.
The game was scoreless until the third inning. In the third, Cleary reached on a fielding error by the Bruins. Dew followed with a walk to give the Golden Eagles a pair of base runners. Papp walked to load the base and Sydney Pollock entered the game to run at first base. With two outs, Stringer stepped to the as a pinch hitter. The senior from Waveland, Miss. delivered a two-run double to left center field, scoring Cleary and Dew. The hit proved to be the game-winner as the Southern Miss defense limited Belmont to just one run.
The Bruins chipped into the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Belmont opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Following a pitching change, the Bruins used a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. A sacrifice fly to left field allowed the lead runner to score, but a foul out to first base closed out the threat.
Southern Miss added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. Dew walked to start the frame. With two outs, Reynolds singled to left field to continue the inning. Christofferson doubled down the left field line to score Dew. R. Johnson singled to short, scoring Reynolds and pushing the lead to 4-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Golden Eagles surrendered a two-out triple, but a weak ground ball to the circle ended the game and secured the 4-1 victory and the sweep of day two of the Sand Dollar Classic.