Softball Battles No. 4 Bama in Front of Record Crowd
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss softball team dropped a 7-1 decision to No. 4 Alabama on Tuesday night in front of a record crowd of 1,160 at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The Crimson Tide benefited from a pair of Golden Eagle errors which led to five unearned runs.
Offensively, the Golden Eagle recorded three hits, while the top-five Tide notched four base hits. Lauren Holifield, Tori Dew, and Sarah Evans each registered hits in the game with Holifield posting a RBI double. Evans drew a pair of walks to lead the team, reaching base three times. Samantha Papp also drew a free pass in the game. Rachel Johnson, who reached base on an error, scored the Golden Eagles' run.
The Black and Gold missed several opportunities, stranding eight batters on the bases, including five runners in scoring position.
In the circle, Southern Miss used a pair of pitchers. Danielle Block earned the start, working 3.0 innings. She junior surrendered six runs (one earned run) on three hits and six walks. Block gave way to Jillian Johnson who pitched the final four innings allowing one run on a hit with three strikeouts. J. Johnson faced just two batters over the minimum, posting a pair of 1-2-3 innings.
Alabama was the first team to score, plating four runners in the top of the second inning. The leadoff batter walked and Collins, Miss. native Reagan Dykes followed with a single through the left side of the infield. The next batter hit a ball to shallow center field. R. Johnson charged in hard to make the catch and tossed to Kaelyn Christofferson covering on second base for the double play to record the first two outs of the inning. A fielding error by Southern Miss extended the inning and a walk loaded the bases. Back-to-back RBI walks put the nationally-ranked Crimson Tide on the scoreboard. With the bases still loaded, Alabama used a two-RBI single to increase its advantage to 4-0. The Golden Eagles closed out the inning with a pop up to second base.
Southern Miss threatened in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Papp drew a walk and Evans followed with a single to center field to give the home team a pair of base runners. However, the runners would not advance any further as Alabama's pitcher Alexis Osorio recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
The Crimson Tide added a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning. Bama's Peyton Grantham hit a solo home run to start the inning. The next batter walked and stole second base to move into scoring position. With two outs, a fielding error extended the inning and allowed the second run of the inning to score from second base.
In the bottom of the fourth, Dew was hit by a pitch to place a runner on base. Arielle Pollock entered to pinch run and stole second base to move into scoring position. Evans drew a walk to give the Golden Eagles a second base runner, but the inning ended with the runners on base.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Southern Miss loaded the bases with two outs. Dew singled to start the rally and Papp reached on a fielding error by Alabama. Evans drew her second walk of the game to load the bases, but Osorio closed out the frame with a strikeout.
Bama scored its final run of the game in the seventh inning as Leona Lafaele hit a pinch hit home run to left field.
In the seventh inning, the Golden Eagles scratched the scoreboard. R. Johnson led off by reaching on an errant throw by the Tide. With two outs, Holifield hit a double over the right fielder's head to score R. Johnson from first. The Black and Gold were unable to continue the rally as No. 4 Alabama closed out the game by inducing a pop up to third base.
Southern Miss returns to action this weekend as the Golden Eagles play host to North Texas in a three-game Conference USA weekend series. Game begin at 1:00 p.m. each day with a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday. Live stats, live audio, live video, and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the weekend.