Feb. 15, 2014
TALLAHASEE, Fla. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team picked up its first victory of the season in the first game of the second day of the Renegade Classic in Tallahassee, Fla. The Golden Eagles jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 7-6 victory over North Dakota State for the first win of the season. In the nightcap, Southern Miss dropped an 11-0 decision to No. 13 Florida State.
The offense tallied nine hits on the day including a pair of home runs. Five different Golden Eagles recorded a hit on the day with three players finishing the day with multiple hits. Selena Estrada paced the offense on the day, going 3-for-5 (.600) on the day with a home run and two runs batted in. Mackenzie Sher batted .400 on the day, going 2-for-5 with a home run, while Arielle Pollock added a pair of hits. Six Golden Eagles scored runs on the day, led by Estrada's two runs.
In the circle, Southern Miss used a trio of pitchers. Samantha Robles earned the start and ultimately recorded the win in the first game against NDSU. Robles worked 5.2 innings, surrendering two runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Kaitlin Wilson entered the game in relief of Robles. She tossed 1.1 innings without allowing a hit and striking out a batter. Wilson was hindered by two walks and a pair of hit by pitches. In the nightcap, Shelbee Rodgers tossed a complete game against the nationally ranked Noles. She scattered nine hits in 4.0 innings, allowing 11 runs (eight earned runs) with five walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Southern Miss concludes the 2014 Renegade Classic with a single game on Sunday, Feb. 16 against tournament-host Florida State. First pitch is slated for 11:30 a.m. (CT) at JoAnne Graf Field. Live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the game.
Game 1 Recap
In the first game, the Golden Eagles notched their first win of the 2014 season. Southern Miss used a balanced attack to score seven runs on seven hits. Estrada paced USM with three hits, including a home run, while Pollock and Sher each had two hits apiece. Sher, the team's home run leader in 2013, also had a home run in the game.
Southern Miss was the first to scratch the scoreboard, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Sher lifted a pitch over the left field fence for her first home run of the season. The homer was also the first for the Golden Eagles in the young season.
North Dakota State responded with a run in the top of the second inning. With one out, NDSU's Jenna Isbel hit a solo home run to right field to tie the game at 1-1.
The tie was short lived as the Golden Eagles reclaimed the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Morgan McKeever led off the inning with a walk to give USM a base runner. Estrada followed with a two-run home run to left center field to put the Golden Eagles up 3-1. The home run was first of Estrada's career and was also the first base hit of the rookie's Southern Miss tenure.
Southern Miss added a run in the bottom of the third inning. Rodgers led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pollock bunted for a base hit, advancing Rodgers to third. On the play, the NDSU catcher threw the ball away allowing Rodgers to score, extending the lead to 4-1.
North Dakota State responded with a run in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, the Bison used a double down the left field line and a single to right center field to score a run and trim the Southern Miss lead to 4-2.
The Golden Eagles answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Estrada started the inning with a single to left field. Rachel Johnson followed with a walk to give Southern Miss a pair of base runners. Sarah Evans hit a comebacker to the pitcher who elected to try to eliminate the lead runner. The throw was off the mark, allowing Estrada to score and leaving the Golden Eagles with a pair of runners in scoring position. Michelle Stringer drove in Johnson on a fielder's choice. On the play, Evans came around to score to increase the lead to 7-2.
North Dakota State closed the gap in the top of the sixth inning. The leadoff batter was hit by a pitch. Southern Miss recorded the first out of the inning on a fly ball. A second hit by pitch gave the Bison a pair of base runners. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases and drove in the first run of the inning. With the bases still loaded and a pitching change, North Dakota State took advantage of a third walk of the inning to score another run. The next batter singled up the middle, driving in another run. NDSU used a fielder's choice to score the fourth run of the inning and cut the lead to 7-6. With runners on the corners and two outs, Robles closed out the inning with a strikeout.
Southern Miss was able to thwart any type of North Dakota State comeback attempt in the seventh, preserving the one-run victory.
Game 2 Recap
In game two, No. 13 Florida State jumped out early and was able to hold on to a lead.
In the first inning, the Seminoles scored three runs on a pair of hits. With one out, the Noles drew a walk and used a two-run home run by Maddie O'Brien to take a 2-0 lead. The Golden Eagles used a pop up to record the second out of the inning, but a second home run extended the FSU advantage to 3-0.
Florida State increased its advantage in the bottom of the third inning, scoring six runs on three hits - all singles - a sacrifice fly and benefitting from a pair of Southern Miss errors. In the inning, the Seminoles also drew three walks en route to batting around.
FSU provided the final margin of victory by scoring a pair of run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The nationally ranked Noles scratched out two runs on three hits and a Golden Eagle error to push the lead to 11-0. The inning was highlighted by a pinch-hit double by Bailey Schinella.