HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team split a Saturday doubleheader at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. Detroit posted a 4-3 victory in the first game of the doubleheader, but Southern Miss claimed an 11-0 win in five innings in the second game.
Offensively, six different batters posted multiple hits in the game. Sarah Evans and Michelle Stringer each had three hits apiece, while Mackenzie Sher, Morgan McKeever, Shelbee Rodgers and Katie Cleary each had a pair of hits each. Sher recorded the only home run, while Evans posted a pair of triples. Sher, McKeever, Cleary and Taylor Beck each notched doubles on the day.
In game one, Southern Miss struggled to get a timely hit. The Golden Eagles stranded 11 runners in the one-run loss. Six different batters recorded a hit on the day with McKeever and Cleary each posting doubles. In the circle, Samantha Robles took the hard-luck loss. The true freshman scattered five hits in 7.0 innings of work. Robles allowed four runs (two earned runs) in the game, walking two batters and strikeout out three.
Game two saw the Golden Eagles firing on all cylinders. The home team received a complete game no-hit effort by pitcher Danielle Block; tallying 11 runs on 12 hits; and not committing an error. Block finished the game with two walks and three strikeouts in the no-hit shutout. After allowing a pair of one-out walks in the first inning, Block retired 14 batters in a row; posting four 1-2-3 innings.
Game 1 Recap
Detroit was the first to scratch the scoreboard, plating a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. The leadoff batter reached on a throwing error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. The runner moved to third base on a ground out. The Titans' Christa McGahuey put the visitors on the scoreboard with a two-run home run to left center field. A pop up ended the inning with Detroit leading 2-0 thanks to a pair of unearned runs.
Southern Miss responded with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, McKeever doubled to left center field. Sher followed with a walk to give the Golden Eagles a pair of base runners. Robles reached base on a fielding error and moved to second on an interference call. On the play, McKeever came around to score for the first run of the game. With runners on second and third, Cleary fouled out to first base, but the Golden Eagles were able to score as Mikayla Davis, who pinch ran for Sher, quickly sprinted home on the sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2-2.
The Titans regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Detroit used a walk and a single to place two runners on base. The visitors used a bunt single to load the bases. Detroit scored the first run of the inning on a fielder's choice. A second fielder's choice scored the second run of the inning and a fly ball ended the game.
The Golden Eagles trimmed the deficit to just one run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Evans led off the inning with a single through the right side. Tori Rouse entered the game to pinch run. She advanced to second on a groundout. Stringer singled to center field to give Southern Miss runners on the corners. A walk to Rodgers loaded the bases and a second walk to McKeever drove home Rouse from third. Detroit was able to get a strikeout and a foul out to close out the inning.
After keeping Detroit scoreless in the top of the inning, Southern Miss was unable to plate a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend the game, dropping the one-run decision.
Game 2 Recap
The second game started with Southern Miss scoring a pair of runners in the first inning. Rodgers led off the inning with a single to third base. She advanced to second on a groundout. Sher followed with an RBI double to left field to put the Golden Eagles in front. Stringer drove home Sher with a two-RBI single to right field to put USM ahead 2-0.
The Golden Eagles added a run in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Evans tripled to left field. Beck followed with a RBI double to extend the lead to 3-0.
Southern Miss doubled its lead in the bottom of the third inning, scoring three runs on three hits. McKeever led off the inning with single through the right side of the infield. She came around to score as Sher hit the first home run of the year by a Golden Eagle at the Softball Complex. With two outs, Arielle Pollock walked and came around to score on a stand-up triple by Evans.
The Golden Eagles put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth inning. The home team scored five runs on four hits and benefitted from a Detroit error, providing the final margin of victory.
Block shut down the Titans offense throughout the game. She faced just two batters over the minimum and retired 14 consecutive to end the game.
Southern Miss and Detroit close out the series with a single game on Sunday morning. First pitch is slated for 10:00 a.m. Live stats, live stream and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the game.
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