April 12, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team split a doubleheader with rival UAB on Saturday afternoon at Southern Miss Softball Complex. The Golden Eagles claimed game one, 3-1, snapping an 11-game losing streak to the Blazers dating back to 2010. UAB claimed the second game of the twin bill, setting up the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
After the split today, the all-time series between the two teams remains even at 24-24.
In game one, starting pitcher Shelbee Rodgers earned her 14th win of the season. The win moved the junior into a tie for 10th place with Lacey Gros (2006) and Krystal Crooks (2005) in the Golden Eagles single-season records for wins. Rodgers notched eight strikeouts in her outing, giving her 146 on the season. The hurler now ranks sixth in the USM single-season record books for strikeouts, eight Ks shy of tying Gabby Luciani (2010) for fifth place. Rodgers allowed just one run on six hits in 7.0 inning of work.
In game two, Samantha Robles took the hard-luck loss. The true freshman allowed two runs (one earned run) n six hits, striking out four and walking one.
Offensively, Southern Miss recorded eight hits on the day. Sarah Evans paced the team with two hits. Meaghen Nelson and Mackenzie Sher were two of the other six players to record base hits, each notching a double. Katie Cleary also reached base twice, notching a base hit and drawing a walk. Arielle Pollock, Tori Rouse and Peyton Garner each scored runs for the Golden Eagles, while Evans, Nelson and Morgan McKeever each had a RBI apiece.
Game One Recap
UAB was the first team to score, plating a run in the top of the first inning. With one out, the Blazers used back-to-back singles to place runners on first and second. Rodgers fanned the next batter for her first K of the game, but two consecutive walks allowed the first run of the game. Rodgers closed out the inning with a strikeout and the Golden Eagles trailing 1-0.
Southern Miss tied the score in the bottom of the third inning. Evans led off the inning with a single through the left side of the infield. Garner entered the game to run for Evans at first base. With one out, Michelle Stringer singled through the left side of the infield, moving Garner into scoring position. UAB recorded the second out of the inning, but McKeever delivered a two-out single up the middle to score Garner and knot the score at 1-1.
The Golden Eagles took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Cleary led off the inning with a walk and Rouse entered the game to pinch run at first base. With one out, Pollock hit a ball to second base. On a bang-bang play, Pollock beat the throw to first base. On the play, the second baseman covering on the play mishandled the ball, allowing Rouse to advance all the way to third. Pollock moved into scoring position with her third stolen base of the season. Evans continued the inning with a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Rouse. Nelson doubled to right center field to score Pollock and give Southern Miss a 3-1 advantage.
The Black and Gold relied on solid pitching and defense to close out the game and secure the 3-1 victory.
Game Two Recap
Game two was a pitcher's duel throughout the game. Neither team was able to score until the sixth inning. In the top of the sixth, UAB used a single up the middle to place a runner on first base. Southern Miss used a line-drive double play back to Robles in the circle to eliminate the base runner. The Blazers used a single to right field and a fielding error by the Golden Eagles to allow the next batter to reach third base. The next batter singled up the middle to drive home the unearned run. Robles escaped further damage with an inning-ending strikeout.
The Blazers doubled its lead with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning by Ashley Johnson. The homer was Johnson's first of the season and increased UAB's lead to 2-0 that it would not relinquish.
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