HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi Softball team recorded a 3-0 shutout win over the University of Texas at San Antonio to earn a 2-1 Conference USA series victory at the Southern Miss Softball Complex on Sunday afternoon.
Shelbee Rodgers tossed a complete game shutout for the Golden Eagles en route to her team-leading 12th victory of the season. For Rodgers, it was her fifth complete game shutout of the season. The junior allowed just four hits in 7.0 innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts. The 11 Ks marked the fourth time this season that Rodgers had double-digit strikeouts and the second consecutive game against the Roadrunners. Rodgers notched three 1-2-3 innings and closed out four separate innings with a K. She finished the weekend 2-0 with 23 total strikeouts and just three walks. On the year, Rodgers leads team with 130 strikeouts. She's first Golden Eagle pitcher to post over a 100 Ks since Gabby Luciani had 154 in 2010.
Offensively, the Black and Gold collected 10 hits on the day. Mackenzie Sher and Arielle Pollock each recorded multiple hits on the day, while Morgan McKeever had the only extra-base hit of the afternoon for USM. Taylor Beck led the team with two RBI, while Sarah Evans also drove home a run. McKeever, Pollock and Meaghen Nelson each scored runs on the afternoon.
Rodgers started the game off strong. In the first inning, she posted the first 1-2-3 inning of the game, closing out the frame with back-to-back strikeouts. The second inning started and ended with a strikeout, while the third inning once again saw back-to-back Ks to end the inning.
Southern Miss scratched the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, McKeever doubled to left field. She advanced to third as Sher singled to right field. Evans hit a hot-shot down the left field line, scoring McKeever and putting the Black and Gold on the scoreboard, 1-0.
After Rodgers hurled a 1-2-3 fourth inning, the Golden Eagles extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Pollock led off the inning with a single up the middle. Nelson walked to place two runners on base. Southern Miss used a double steal to move bother base runners 60 feet closer to home. With two outs, Beck pinch hit and delivered a two-RBI single just inside the right field foul line, extending the advantage to 3-0.
The Roadrunners threatened in the top of the fifth inning. After back-to-back strikeouts by Rodgers, UTSA used a pair of singles to place two runners on base. The two runners advanced a base on a wild pitch, but a line drive to Michelle Stringer at third base ended the inning and the threat.
In the top of the sixth, UTSA used a double off of the left field wall to place a runner in scoring position, but Rodgers induced a pop up and a fly ball for the first two outs of the inning. She stranded the runner with an inning-ending strikeout. Rodgers sat down the Roadrunners in order in the seventh to secure the win, fanning the first two batters and inducing a game-ending pop up to first base.
Southern Miss returns to action on Tuesday, April 1, as the Golden Eagles head to Troy, Ala. for a midweek non-conference doubleheader with Troy. Live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the games.
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