April 19, 2014
RUSTON, La. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball dream dropped a 7-0 decision to Louisiana Tech in the series finale on Saturday afternoon at the Lady Techsters Softball Complex. Despite the loss, Southern Miss claimed the series with a pair of wins in the doubleheader to open the series.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles recorded four hits on the day, including a pair of doubles. Katie Cleary, Sarah Evans, Morgan McKeever and Meaghen Nelson each had base hits on the day. Evans and Nelson each notched doubles. For Evans, the double was the sophomore's ninth of the season, tying her total from her rookie campaign. The double for Nelson was her sixth of the season.
In the circle, the Black and Gold used three pitchers on the day. Shelbee Rodgers started the game, but did not have her best stuff. The junior surrendered six runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1.1 innings. She was relieved by Danielle Block, who tossed 1.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits and a strikeout. Samantha Robles closed out the game. The true freshman did not allow a run in 3.0 innings of work with a walk and a K.
Louisiana Tech jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. The leadoff batter doubled just over the head of the Southern Miss left fielder. The Lady Techsters used a seeing-eye single to left field to put runners on the corners. With two on and no outs, pitcher Pauline Tufi helped her own cause with a three-run home run down the left field line to put the home team on top 3-0. The Golden Eagles were able to get out of the inning without any further damage with a ground out, a pop up and an inning-ending strikeout.
The Lady Techsters extended their lead in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, LA Tech used a pinch-hit walk to place a runner on first base. The next batter bunted back to the pitcher and the Golden Eagles attempted to retire the lead runner. The runner slide in safely under the throw. The next batter loaded the bases with a bloop single to straight away center field. Tufi cleared the bases with a three-RBI double to right field to put the home team up 6-0. On the play, Tufi advanced to third on an errant throw by USM. After a pitching change, the next batter lifted a ball into foul territory that was tracked down by Meaghen Nelson. On the play, Tufi was able to score from third on the sacrifice. Block ended the inning with a strikeout, but Southern Miss trailed 7-0 after two complete innings.
After surrendering runs in the first two innings, Southern Miss was able to keep Louisiana Tech off the scoreboard in the final four innings. The Golden Eagles defense turned a double play to go along with two Ks to keep the Lady Techsters off the scoreboard in the final frames. The offense was unable to score the necessary runs to extend the game.
Southern Miss returns to action on Tuesday as the Golden Eagles host nationally-ranked Alabama in a single game at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. Live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the game.