Softball Posts Doubleheader Sweep on Senior Day
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss softball team notched a pair of shutouts on Saturday afternoon against UTEP at the Softball Complex to earn a spot in the Conference USA Championships. The Golden Eagles posted a 3-0 victory in game one, and completed the sweep with a second 3-0 win.
Danielle Block and Samantha Robles each pitched on the day, helping the Black and Gold to a pair of shutouts. The duo allowed no runs on seven hits -- one extra-base hit -- in 14.0 innings with six strikeouts and a pair of walks. The Golden Eagles became the first team to shutout the Miners this season.
Block earned the start in game one, notching her eighth win of the season. She picked up the victory, working 5.1 innings. Block surrendered no runs on five hits with a walk. She was relieved by Robles who tossed 1.2 scoreless innings to record her third save of the season. The save ties the redshirt sophomore for first place in school history for saves in a season. Robles faced the minimum, recording a pair of strikeouts.
In game two, Robles tossed a complete game shutout, allowing a pair of hits with a walk and four strikeouts. After surrendering a leadoff single, the Texas City, Texas native retired 18 of the next 20 batters she faced, allowing a walk and hitting a batter. Robles notched three 1-2-3 innings on the way to her 16th victory of the season. The win moved Robles into sixth place in school history for wins in a season, while also entering Southern Miss' career-top 10, tying Beth Dietrich (2010-13) for 10th with 27 career Ws.
Offensively, Southern Miss was led by Kaelyn Christofferson. The sophomore finished the day 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, a walk, and a sacrifice bunt. Lauren Holifield paced the team with three hits on the day, while senior Katie Cleary added a pair of base hits. Fellow seniors Sarah Evans, Morgan McKeever, and Michelle Stringer also had base hits on Senior Day. Cleary and Tori Dew joined Christofferson with doubles on the day. McKeever led the team with a pair of runs, giving her 98 in her career. She is just two shy of becoming the seventh player in school history with 100 or more runs scored.
The Golden Eagles and Miners conclude the series with a single game on Sunday afternoon beginning at noon. Live stats, live audio, live video, and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the game.
Game One Recap -- Seniors Help Power Southern Miss to Shutout Win
After being honored prior to the game, the Southern Miss seniors combined for five of the team's eight hits to help the Golden Eagles to a 3-0 victory over UTEP.
The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when the Black and Gold plated three runs to take the lead. Cleary led off the inning with a double to right field. Samantha Reynolds entered the game to run at second base. Evans broke the scoring drought with a RBI single through the right side of the infield. Stringer continued the inning hitting a line drive off of the UTEP pitcher for a single. McKeever loaded the bases with a single to shallow center field. Arielle Pollock entered the game to pinch run at second base. A fielder's choice left the bases loaded, but recorded the first out. Christofferson doubled to left center field, scoring Pollock and McKeever and giving the Golden Eagles a 3-0 advantage.
The home team relied on pitching and defense to keep the Miners off of the scoreboard and notch the fourth shutout of the season.
Game Two Recap -- Robles Blanks Miners to Complete Doubleheader Sweep
In game two, Robles faced just four batters over the minimum, allowing just a pair of base hits to record her second complete-game shutout of the season.
Southern Miss was the first team to score, plating a run in the bottom of the second inning. McKeever drew a one-out walk to place a runner on base. She advanced into scoring position on a passed ball by the UTEP catcher. Christofferson singled to left field, moving McKeever to third. On the play, Christofferson was able to advance to second base as the Miners threw home to keep McKeever at third. Rachel Johnson singled to left field, scoring McKeever and giving the Black and Gold a 1-0 advantage.
The Golden Eagles added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth inning. Bailey Stokes led off the inning with a single and Sydney Pollock entered the game to run at first. Christofferson dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move S. Pollock over to second base. S. Pollock advanced to third on a groundout and came around to score on a Holifield single to left center field. Dew drove home Holifield with her 15th double of the season. Fifteen doubles in a season ties Dew with Charity Butler (2003-06) for sixth most doubles in a season.