Softball Slams UTEP in C-USA Championships
DENTON, Texas -- The Southern Miss softball team used a grand slam by Lauren Holifield to break the game open, earning a 10-4 win in the first game of the Conference USA Championships on Wednesday night in Denton, Texas.
The Golden Eagles advance to play the No. 2 seed UAB Blazers on Thursday afternoon in a game at 4:30 p.m. Live stats, live audio, live video, and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the game.
Offensively, the Black and Gold scored 10 runs on nine hits, including three home runs and a double. With Lauren Holifield finished 2-for-4 with two home runs, including a grand slam, two runs scored and a team-high five RBI. Kaelyn Christofferson led the team with three hits, including a double. Tori Dew made her one hit count, hitting a solo home run. Bailey Stokes reached base three times in the game, singling and drawing two walks. Sarah Evans and Rachel Johnson each scored a pair of runs in the game.
In the circle, Samantha Robles tossed a complete game on her way to her team-leading 18th win of the season. She surrendered four runs -- one earned run -- on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Southern Miss opened up the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Morgan McKeever drew a four-pitch walk to place the first base runner for either team on base. Christofferson singled for the first base hit of the game. Stokes walked to load the bases. The first run came across as R. Johnson was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Holifield hit a grand slam to left center field to put the Golden Eagles up 5-0. It was the first grand slam of the season of for the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles added a run in the third. Evans singled to left center field with one out and Michelle Stringer followed with a walk. With two outs, Christofferson laced a ball through the right side. The ball hit off of the second baseman's glove giving the sophomore a double, scoring Evans on the play.
In the bottom of the fourth, Holifield led off the inning with a no-doubt rocket-shot home run to left field. It gave the Holifield her third multi-home run game of the season. Dew followed with a solo home run, giving the Golden Eagles back-to-back dingers for the first time in the Wendy Hogue Era. Katie Cleary walked and Samantha Reynolds entered the game to run at first base. Evans was hit by a pitch -- the 21st hit by pitch in her career -- to give Southern Miss a pair of base runners. A double play left the Golden Eagles with a runner on second. McKeever followed with a RBI single through the right side of the infield to push the advantage to 9-0.
UTEP avoided the run-rule with three runs in the fifth inning. The leadoff batter reached base thanks to a fielding error by Southern Miss. With one out, the Miners used a walk and a groundout to place a pair of runners in scoring position. UTEP used back-to-back triples to score three runs, but a batter's interference ended the inning and the Miner rally.
The Golden Eagles got a run back in the bottom of the fifth. Stokes singled to left field and Sydney Pollock entered to run. R. Johnson reached on a fielder's choice. With two outs, Dew walked and Selena Estrada went to first to run. Cleary walked to load the bases and Evans scored the lead runner with a RBI walk.
The Miners scored the final run of the game in the seventh inning. UTEP led off the inning with a double. After a pop up, the Miners used a pinch-hit single to place runners on the corners. The Golden Eagles traded a run for an out, getting a fielder's choice at second base. With two outs and a runner on first, the Black and Gold used a ground out to third base to end the game and secure the win.