HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team posted back-to-back run-rule shutouts over in-state foe Alcorn State on Wednesday at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The Golden Eagles posted a 13-0 victory in five innings, before notching a 10-0 run-rule win in the night cap.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles registered 24 hits in 10 innings of work. The team combined for three doubles, two triples and a pair of home runs. Ten different batters had at least one hit on the day with five different players with multiple hits on the day. Eleven different players scored a run on the afternoon, including eight players with multiple runs scored.
Sarah Evans finished the day 5-for-5 with a team-best four runs scored, two RBI and a walk. Mackenzie Sher and Meaghen Nelson each had four hits apiece, including home runs. Throughout the course of the doubleheader, Sher hit for the cycle, finishing the afternoon with a single, a double, a triple and a home run, however, not in the same game. Nelson belted her first collegiate home run, while adding a double. The California native posted a team-high nine RBI on the afternoon.
In the circle, three pitchers combined for a pair of shutouts. Shelbee Rodgers and Kaitlin Wilson combined for a five-inning shutout in game one, while Samantha Robles notched a no-hitter in the second game of the twin bill. The trio combined for 15 strikeouts with just one walk. Alcorn State batted .059 against Southern Miss, mustering just a pair of singles.
Rodgers earned her team-leading sixth win of the season, tossing 4.0 innings. She surrendered no runs on two hits - both singles - with a walk and eight strikeouts. Wilson entered the game to close out the game for the Golden Eagles. The sophomore faced just three batters notching a pair of strikeouts. Robles threw a complete game shutout, posting the third no-hitter of the year. She struck out five batters without allowing a walk or a hit.
Game 1 Recap
Game one saw the Golden Eagles jump out to an early lead that they would not relinquish.
Southern Miss opened up the scoring with eight runs in the bottom of the first inning. Rodgers dropped down a bunt single to third base to get things started for the home team. Morgan McKeever followed with a single through the right side of the infield. Sher brought home the first two runs of the day with a triple down the right field line. Katie Cleary continued the inning as she was hit by a pitch. Selena Estrada drew a walk to load the bases. Arielle Pollock reached on a fielder's choice. On the play, Sher scored on a throwing error by Alcorn State. Evans hit a line drive back at the pitcher. The ball hit off of the pitcher and rolled back towards the dugout. Estrada scored on the play and Pollock and Evans both moved into scoring position. Nelson drove in two more runs with a single up the middle. She advanced to second on the throw home. Rachel Johnson moved Nelson 60 feet closer to home with a sacrifice bunt and Rodgers drove Nelson with a RBI groundout to put Southern Miss in front 8-0.
The Golden Eagles reached double digits with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Sher led off the inning with a double. She came around to score as Estrada reached on a fielding error. Pollock recorded an infield single, leaving the Black and Gold with runners on first and second. Evans loaded the bases with a Texas-League single to left field. Nelson drove home the final run of the inning with a RBI groundout.
The Black and Gold provided the final margin of victory with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Pinch hitter Mikayla Davis recorded her first collegiate hit in her first collegiate at bat, beating out a bunt single. She advanced to second on a single through the left side of the infield by Evans. Nelson singled up the middle to score Davis and leave runners on the corners. Nelson stole second to move into scoring position. Evans came home to score on an errant throw by the Lady Braves. Johnson reached on a fielder's choice, advancing to third on an errant throw that saw Nelson score safely from second.
Game 2 Recap
The second game of the day was a pitcher's duel until the bottom of the fourth inning. Neither team mustered a run in the first three and a half innings of play. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Southern Miss scored a season-high 10 runs in the inning on eight hits, including a pair of home runs to post another run-rule victory.
In the fourth inning, Robles started the inning with a single through the right side of the infield. Johnson ran for Robles and moved into scoring position on a Pollock sacrifice bunt. Evans singled up the middle, scoring Johnson to break the scoreless tie. Nelson followed with her first collegiate home run - a line drive over the left field fence. With two outs, Rodgers singled to right field. McKeever followed with a single up the middle. The two came around to score as Sher blasted a three-run homer to straight away center field. Cleary continued the inning with a double to right field. Robles, who re-entered the game to bat for the second time in the inning, was hit by a pitch. After a pitching change, Estrada drew a pinch-hit walk to load the bases. After Pollock re-entered the game to run, the Golden Eagles each advanced a base on a wild pitch. Evans reloaded the bases with a four-pitch walk. After another pitching change, Nelson cleared the bases with a three-RBI double, giving the Black and Gold a 10-0 advantage they would not relinquish.
Southern Miss and Alcorn State conclude the midweek tilt with a single game on Thursday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the game.
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