LaPointe, Sher Propel Southern Miss to Day 2 Sweep
Feb. 16, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Danielle LaPointe continued her hot hitting streak and Mackenzie Sher walked off Southern Miss (5-7) in grand slam fashion as they defeated Sam Houston State and Jacksonville State on Saturday.
In game one, the Golden Eagles swung hot bats all afternoon, recording a season-best 12 hits including three from both Sher and LaPointe en route to a 10-1 run-rule victory. Sher picked up the first five of her RBI against the Bearkats (4-5) on a two-run single and a three-run homer, her first roundtripper of the day.
The second game of the day mirrored Friday's closely contested game with the Gamecocks (2-6) as the game came down to the final inning yet again. With a pair of outs facing them, the Golden Eagles got a pair of walks and a single to load the bases for Sher who took a 3-1 offering deep over the center field wall.
It was the first grand slam for the program since 2011 and first walk-off grand slam for Southern Miss in regulation since the program was restarted in 1999. Sher also set a new career-high for RBI in a game (five) against SHSU and tied a career-best for hits in a game with three.
"Games like (the night cap) are ones that you need to really define your team," said co-head coach Jon Malgradi. "We need games like that to test our mettle from time to time and I'm proud of our young team responding the way they did. We are getting better each and every game, in our at bats, in our pitch selections, in the way we are playing defense and pitching, just all around."
Southern Miss returns to action tomorrow for the final day of tournament play when they take on Sam Houston State at 12:30 p.m.
Fans who would like to follow the Golden Eagles from out of town can do so on Twitter by following @USMSoftball, via the Gametracker platform from SouthernMiss.com, or by liking the Southern Miss Softball page on Facebook.
Game 1: Against the Bearkats, Southern Miss benefitted from the big inning after running a close game in the early goings.
The Golden Eagles struck first as Caroline Walker and Taylor Beck both singled in their first at-bats, moving over on a Sarah Evans ground-out. Sher then plated both runs on a two-out single through the left side.
In the third, freshman Morgan McKeever belted her first homer of her career, a solo shot to right field, and Southern Miss added to the lead in the fourth on a misthrown ball from the catcher back to the circle.
SHSU cut into the lead in the fifth as Amy Pelton singled into left field to drive in Cecilia Castillo and make it a 4-1 ball game.
The Golden Eagles created the run-rule situation in the sixth when they put up three quick runs followed by Sher's three-run homer to straight away center field.
Kimberly Wagner (3-2) tossed the complete six innings for the Black and Gold, giving up just a pair of hits and one unearned run. She struck-out two batters and did not allow a walk.
Game 2: Another close game told the tale of the nightcap as the teams allowed solo runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings to bring it to a 2-2 ball game in the final frame.
In the third, the Golden Eagles, which they have done in nine of their 12 games this season, scored first as Evans doubled to the gap to bring in Beck from first.
The Gamecocks tied the ball game in the fourth on a Sara Borders solo homer, but the Golden Eagles quickly retook the lead in the bottom of the frame as they executed a perfect fake double steal with Walker to bring in LaPointe from home.
JSU jumped back into the game in the sixth on a Kalee Tabor RBI double and threatened to go ahead with one out and runners on second and third, but freshman Kaitlin Wilson again navigated the tough situation to get a strike out and fly out to keep the game tied at 2-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, JSU got two quick strikeouts and looked to be pushing for extra innings, but after McKeever and Evans walked and Beck singled to left field, Sher came to the plate and nearly ran the count full before sending the 3-1 offering screaming over the center field wall for the win.