HATTIESBURG, Miss. - For the second straight day, the University of Southern Mississippi softball team received a no-hit shutout by its pitcher en route to a run-rule victory. Behind the arm of Shelbee Rodgers and team effort offensively, the Golden Eagles defeated the Detroit Titans, 8-0, in five innings on Sunday morning at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.
In the circle, Rodgers tossed her first no-hitter of the season and the second in as many days for Southern Miss. Less than 24 hours after freshman Danielle Block held Detroit hitless, Rodgers followed with her own no-hit bid. The junior worked 5.0 innings without allowing a run or a hit, walking three and striking out nine. She finished the weekend with 23 strikeouts in 12.0 innings of work. Rodgers posted two 1-2-3 innings and struck out the side once. In addition, Rodgers helped her own cause at the plate. She finished 2-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI and a double.
Rodgers was joined by Morgan McKeever, Katie Cleary, Sarah Evans and Michelle Stringer with multiple hits on the day. Cleary led the way with three hits, including a double. Evans and McKeever each added doubles and McKeever also legged out a triple. Cleary drove in a team-best three runs, while McKeever scored a team-high two runs.
Southern Miss was the first team to score, plating three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Rodgers led off the inning with a single to the pitcher. McKeever laced a triple down the right field line to put the Golden Eagles in front 1-0. With one out, McKeever came home to score on a wild pitch. Cleary continued the inning with a double down the left field line. Evans connected on a two-out double to straight away center field to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Golden Eagles doubled their advantage with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Michelle Stringer led off the inning with a single to left center field. Freshman Tori Rouse entered the game to pinch run and advanced to second on a Meaghen Nelson walk. The two base runners moved up a base on a wild pitch. The next batter lined out to left field. The left fielder threw the ball to second base and the ball was mishandled. Rouse advanced home on the error for the first run of the inning. Nelson advanced to third on a ground out to first base. Mackenzie Sher walked to continue the inning and stole second to move into scoring position. Cleary cleared the bases with a two-RBI single to left field, putting USM in front 6-0.
Southern Miss increased its lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. McKeever led off the inning with a double to left field. Cleary notched a one-out single to right field to score McKeever and extend the advantage to 7-0.
The Golden Eagles closed out the run-rule victory with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Stringer singled up the middle to give Southern Miss a base runner. She advanced into scoring position as Nelson drew her second walk of the game. Rodgers helped her cause hitting a RBI double to the gap in left center, providing the final margin of victory, 8-0.
Southern Miss concludes its eight-game homestand with a doubleheader against nationally ranked Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Live stats, live video and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available for the doubleheader.
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