April 7, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss scored three runs in a hit-frenzied seventh inning but fell short of overcoming a four-run deficit as Conference USA rival Memphis completed the three-game sweep of the Golden Eagles on Sunday.
The Tigers and Eagles traded two-run innings before a four-run seventh propelled Memphis to the 6-5 victory at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.
After the freshman Emily Wood worked herself into a jam by loading the bases in the third, senior Beth Dietrich come on in relief but surrendered an immediate single to right field to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. One batter later, Memphis got a would-be single to the right side, but a nice dive by Danielle LaPointe kept the ball in the infield for the force out, allowing one more run to score.
Memphis threatened to add another run in the fourth after Lelani Bernadino's two-out triple to right field, but Jenifer Gary dialed up the highlight play and made a full extension diving catch out in shallow left to end the inning.
In the fourth, the Golden Eagles got some offense cooking when Morgan McKeever got a lead-off walk and moved over on Mackenzie Sher's sacrifice bunt. LaPointe followed up with a shallow double to put runners on second and third.
After Taylor Beck drew a full-count walk to load the bases, freshman Michelle Stringer ripped a single up the middle to cut into the lead and make it 2-1. In to pinch hit for Gary, Kimberly Wagner drew two straight balls before Memphis pulled starter Jordan Richwood in favor of Ellen Roberts, who subsequently threw two more balls to walk in the tying run.
In the seventh, Bernadino got her second hit of the game, a bloop single to center field to lead off and advanced to second on Laura Curtis' sacrifice. With a runner on second, Morgan Mosby got a single up the middle to score Bernadino and put the Tigers on top 3-2.
A walk, a single, and a two-out, two-RBI double from pitcher Ellen Roberts put three more Tiger runs on the board for Memphis.
Southern Miss did not go quietly in the final half-inning as Kristen Franson got a lead off walked and moved over on Sarah Evans' single up the middle. Freshman Katie Cleary then ripped her first career triple in timely fashion, as the ball rolled all the way to the fence to make it a 6-4 game.
Morgan McKeever followed up with a sacrifice fly to center field, deep enough to bring Cleary in, and make it a 6-5 game. After a strikeout, LaPointe reached on a Memphis throwing error and Beck worked out of an 0-2 count to single through the left side on a full count. But, the Golden Eagles were unable to overcome the deficit, fouling out to end the game.
Southern Miss returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to Auburn for a mid-week single game showdown with the Tigers. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. from Jane B. Moore Field.
To get the most up-to-date information on Southern Miss Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @USMSoftball, get live stats via the Gametracker platform from SouthernMiss.com, or like Southern Miss Softball on Facebook.
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