Softball Completes Sweep of North Texas
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss softball team recorded a three-game sweep of Conference USA foe North Texas with a 3-2 victory in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The C-USA sweep is the first for the Golden Eagles since taking three games against UTEP at home in 2011.
With the win, the Black and Gold improve to 23-23 on the season, registering the most wins for the program since winning 25 games in 2010. Southern Miss' 10 wins in C-USA play are tied for the second most wins since 2006. The Golden Eagles, 10-8 in league play, also had 10 wins in 2009 and 2014 with 11 wins in 2006.
In the circle, Samantha Robles was once again dominant. The Texas City native surrendered a pair of unearned runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Robles improved to 2-0 on the week with a 0.00 ERA. She tossed a pair of complete games, including a shutout. Over the weekend, Robles struck out 13 batters, while issuing just one walk. North Texas batted just .180 against her in 14.0 innings of work.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles recorded seven hits on the day. Tori Dew and Rachel Johnson each notched a team-best two runs. R. Johnson scored the game-winning run on a double steal attempt in the bottom of the sixth inning. Dew doubled and scored a run, while Lauren Holifield also came around to score. Samantha Papp drove in the only run of the game with her first collegiate sacrifice fly.
Southern Miss was the first team to score, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Dew led off the game with a double to right center field. Holifield followed with a walk. Katie Cleary dropped down a sacrifice bunt attempt that North Texas fielded and threw to third. Dew slid under the tag and was safe. On the play, the ball got away from the Mean Green defense, allowing Dew to advance home and Holifield to move to third. Following a fielder's choice that left runners on the corners, Papp lifted a ball to right field deep enough to score Holifield from third and give the home team a 2-0 advantage.
North Texas answered in the top of the third. With one out, the Mean Green used a throwing error to place a runner on first base. The next batter doubled down the left field line to score the lead runner from first base and put the visitors on the scoreboard for the first time all weekend. A groundout moved the runner to third base and a second double knotted the score at 2-2.
The score remained locked at two apiece until the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs, R. Johnson drove a ball down the first base line for a single. She advanced to third as Dew singled up the middle. Arielle Pollock entered to run at first base to give Southern Miss speed on the bases. A. Pollock broke for second base and the North Texas catcher threw down to try to throw her out. A. Pollock stopped midway to force a rundown. R. Johnson broke for home on the delayed steal, scoring easily from third for the go-ahead run as A. Pollock retreated safely back to first. A fly ball ended the inning with Southern Miss in front 3-2.
In the seventh inning, the Mean Green led off with a single to put the potential tying run on base. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position. Robles struck the next batter out for the second out of the inning. With the tying run on second and two outs, the Golden Eagles used a lazy popup to short to end the game and secure the victory.
Southern Miss returns to action this Tuesday as the Golden Eagles head to Starkville, Miss. for a single game against in-state rival Mississippi State. The game will be aired on the SEC Network+ and available on the Watch ESPN app. Live stats and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the game.