Robles, Block Toss Back-to-Back Shutouts in DH Sweep
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss softball team posted back-to-back shutouts for a doubleheader sweep of Conference USA opponent North Texas on Saturday afternoon at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The Golden Eagles won game one 4-0 before taking game two 3-0.
The doubleheader sweep gives the Golden Eagles their third consecutive Conference USA series victory of the season. Southern Miss claimed a home series with WKU, 2-1, before hitting the road and winning two of three from UTSA.
It was the first doubleheader sweep in C-USA play since April 18, 2014 on the road against Louisiana Tech (W, 2-0 and W, 4-3) and the first time the Golden Eagles have accomplished the feat at home since taking a twin bill against East Carolina on April 27, 2013.
Southern Miss tossed back-to-back shutouts for the first time since blanking Alcorn State in three games on March 12-13, 2014 (W, 13-0; W, 10-0; and W, 8-0). It was the first time the Golden Eagles notched back-to-back shutouts against a conference opponent since May 3, 2003, defeating UAB (W, 1-0 and W, 2-0). The last time the Black and Gold recorded back-to-back C-USA shutouts in general was April 2011, shutting out Tulsa (W, 3-0) on April 11 and following that by blanking Memphis (W, 2-0) the following week on April 17.
In the circle, Samantha Robles and Danielle Block both tossed complete games en route to shutout victories. The duo combined to surrender no runs on seven hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk in 14.0 innings.
Robles picked up her team-leading 13th win of the season and first shutout of the year. She allowed four hits in 7.0 innings with no walks and a season-high seven strikeouts. Block matched her counterpart's effort going 7.0 innings, allowing just three hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
Offensively, Robles joined Morgan McKeever, Katie Cleary, Sarah Evans, and Tori Dew with multiple hits on the day. Robles was 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double to help her own cause. McKeever and Cleary led the way with three hits apiece, with two of Cleary's hits going for doubles. Evans belted her second home run of the season on a two-hit day driving in a team-best three RBI. Seven different players scored runs on the day.
Southern Miss and North Texas conclude the series with a single game on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. Live stats, live audio, live video, and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the game.
Game 1 Recap -- Robles Rolls to Shutout
In game one, Robles was solid in her effort. She surrendered just four hits with no walks. Three runners reached third base, but were left stranded each time.
Southern Miss scored in the bottom of the third to break the scoreless tie. Dew singled to center field and Holifield followed with a single up the middle. Cleary attempted to drop down a bunt and put it just out of reach of a diving North Texas player for a base hit to load the bases. Samantha Papp drove in the first run with a Texas-League single to shallow right center field. Evans followed with a RBI single to right to put the Golden Eagles in front 2-0. With one out, Robles helped her own cause with a two-RBI double to left center field to put the home team in front 4-0.
Four runs would be all the Golden Eagles would need as pitching and solid defense kept the Mean Green off of the scoreboard.
Game 2 Recap -- Block's Shutout Gives Softball Third Consecutive Series Win
Block matched her counterpart in game two, notching her second shutout of the season. She allowed just four base runners, with only two advancing into scoring position, but left them stranded on base and off of the scoreboard.
North Texas did a good job of keeping Southern Miss off of the scoreboard, until the fifth inning. The Golden Eagles broke the scoreless tie with a run on three hits. McKeever led off the inning with a single up the middle. Arielle Pollock entered to run at first base. She moved to second as Bailey Stokes singled through the left side of the infield. Sydney Pollock entered to run at first for Stokes. With Pollocks on first and second, Kaelyn Christofferson singled just out of reach of a diving Mean Green shortstop, allowing A. Pollock to score from second base and give the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Southern Miss added a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Cleary doubled to right center field -- her 10th double of the season and the 31st of her career. Samantha Reynolds entered to run for Cleary, but it wouldn't matter as Evans lifted a pitch over the left center field wall for her second home run of the season -- the fourth in her career.
The Golden Eagles surrendered a two-out single in the top of the seventh inning, but a strikeout ended the game and preserved the shutout.