March 7, 2012
JACKSON, Miss. - Southern Miss (6-10) split a mid-week softball doubleheader with Jackson State (11-10) on Wednesday at the Jackson State University Softball Complex.
"We hit the ball pretty hard tonight and had some great shots up the middle," said co-head coach Jon Malgradi. "Our pitchers were getting squeezed some in the zone and that forced us to pitch a little more defensively. Overall, it's nice to come get one on the road in a tough place to play."
In game one, the Golden Eagles exploded for six runs off five hits in the final half-inning of play to earn the 8-5 victory.
In the nightcap, Jackson State scored multiple runs in three of the first four innings en route to an 8-2 victory to earn the split.
Southern Miss got on the board in the top of the third as Stephanie Shiflet drew a lead-off walk. Following a ground out, Taylor Brown drove in her left fielder with a hard ground ball up the middle. Brown advanced to third on a wild pitch that bounced around behind the catcher and came across on a dropped pop fly to make it 2-0.
In the fourth, the Lady Tigers took advantage of a single and three walks to bring a run across the board to make it 2-1.
With the bases still loaded, Arial Siegel hit a grounder that rolled under second baseman Carissa Turang's glove to allow two more runs to come across to allow the Lady Tigers to re-take the lead at 3-2.
Down to their final half inning, the Golden Eagles exploded for six runs to re-take the lead 8-3.
Britney Dinelt got it going when she reached second on a fielding error by the Tiger shortstop, Amanda Vasquez. Brittany Lilly, coming in as a pinch hitter, then bunted a back to the pitcher that fumbled around the infield and settled with Lilly at third and Dinelt across the plate as the tying run.
Shiflet then forced another tough infield play as she hit a ground ball to the second baseman who elected to bring it home. Lilly evaded the tag to put the Eagles up 4-3. LeJune kept the offense churning with a big looping triple to right field to bring in Shiflet from first to make it 5-3.
The Eagles added three more runs as Mackenzie Sher tripled down the right field line, Taylor Brown worked the count and got a sacrifice fly to left field and Turang roped a double off the left-center fence. When it was all said and done, Southern Miss had re-taken the lead and gone up 8-3. The six runs were a season-high in a single inning.
Jackson State fought back in their side of the frame with a two-run home run from Felicia Wilson, but Beth Dietrich got the final out and the 8-5 victory.
Dietrich (3-3) earned the complete game win after scattering eight hits and allowed five runs (three earned). She walked four batters and struck out four. The Eagles were led at the plate by Sher who finished the day with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, including the triple, with one RBI and a walk.
Jackson State's Wendi Reed opened up the game with a booming two-run home run to straightaway center field to put the Lady Tigers up 2-0.
In the second, the Lady Tigers got three more runs, including two off bases loaded walks, to push their lead to 5-0.
Southern Miss broke through in the third with back-to-back singles from Omeshia Moffett and Shiflet followed by a first-pitch rip up the middle by LeJune to bring in one run.
After JSU added another single run in the bottom of the third, Turang drove in Caroline Walker from second on a double to left field to make it 6-2. Another pair of runs in the fourth for the Lady Tigers made it an 8-2 ball game.
The two teams ran scoreless for the final three innings as Jackson State earned the split.
Gabby Luciani (2-2) suffered the loss after 1.2 innings of work. She scattered four hits and allowed five runs while striking out and walking two.
Next up for the Golden Eagles is a trip west for their conference opener at UTEP with a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday. First pitch for Saturday's double dip is set for 3 p.m. CT in El Paso, Texas.
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