BOCA RATON, Fla. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team fell in the final game of a three-game series against Florida Atlantic, 7-2, in Boca Raton, Fla. on Sunday afternoon.
The Golden Eagles recorded nine hits as a team, including a double. Three batters - Katie Cleary, Rachel Johnson and Morgan McKeever - each had two hits apiece. McKeever and Selena Estrada each had RBI in the game, while Shelbee Rodgers and Meaghen Nelson each scored runs. In the game, Cleary notched her team-leading 13th double of the season.
In the circle, Rodgers and Samantha Robles combined for the complete game. Rodgers earned the start, working 3.2 innings before exiting the game. The junior transfer allowed seven runs on eight hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Robles tossed the final 2.1 innings surrendering no runs on one hit with no walks and a strikeout.
Southern Miss was the first team to score, plating a run in the top of the first inning. Rodgers led off the game with a four-pitch walk. She advanced to second base on a groundout to third base. Cleary followed with a single, leaving the Golden Eagles with runners on the corners. Estrada drove home the first run of the game with a single through the right side of the infield.
Florida Atlantic responded with a run in the bottom of the first inning. A single to third, combined with a single to shallow left field left the Owls with runners on first and second. The home team moved the two runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Florida Atlantic used a RBI groundout to tie the score at 1-1. Rodgers ended the inning with a strikeout to keep the game tied.
The Golden Eagles regained the lead in the top of the second inning. Sarah Evans led off the inning with a single through the left side of the infield. Nelson followed with a single to center field. Johnson singled to the shortstop to load the base for Southern Miss. The Owls used a fielder's choice to eliminate the lead runner, but left the bases loaded. McKeever singled to left field, scoring Nelson and giving the Black and Gold a 2-1 lead.
The Owls took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. FAU used a walk and a sacrifice bunt to place a runner in scoring position. The runner advanced to third on a fly ball to right field. Florida Atlantic tied the game with a bunt single. A walk continued the inning. After a stolen base, the Owls used a two-RBI double down the left field line to take the lead. A second double of the inning put the home team up 5-2 after two complete innings.
Florida Atlantic increased it's with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, the Owls used a single to the shortstop. With two outs, FAU added a base runner with a single to second base. The next batter lined a pitch right back to the circle, loading the bases and upending Rodgers. The Golden Eagles went to the bullpen and brought in Robles to pitch. The next batter hit a ground-rule double to right center field to score two runs and increase the Owls' advantage to 7-2.
Neither team was able to muster any more runs and the home team posted a 7-2 victory to win the series.
Southern Miss returns to action on Wednesday, March 26 as the Golden Eagles play host to Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m. Live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the games.
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