Softball Hosts Ole Miss in Home Opener
Golden Eagle Softballers Split with Ole Miss in Oxford on Wednesday
On a chilly Wednesday night in Oxford, the Southern Miss softball team split with in-state foe Ole Miss, winning the opener 7-4 and falling in the nightcap 3-0.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - After opening the season with eight road games, the University of Southern Mississippi softball team is set for its home opener against in-state rival Ole Miss on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 3:00 p.m. at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.
Prior to the first game of the doubleheader, the Student Eagle Club will be hosting a tailgate from 2:00-3:00 p.m. The tailgate includes free pizza for the first 100 students and free t-shirts for the first 50 students. In addition, the first 250 fans in attendance receive a 2014 softball schedule poster.
Southern Miss enters the home opener with a 1-7 overall record after playing a three-game series at Arizona and at the Renegade Classic in Tallahassee. After dropping three games to the now nationally ranked Wildcats, the Golden Eagles finished the Renegade Classic 1-4. Southern Miss was narrowly edged 1-0 by North Dakota State in the opener before battling with No. 13 Florida State (L, 1-5). The Golden Eagles defeated the Bison, 7-6, for their first victory of the season. The nationally ranked Seminoles closed out the tournament with back-to-back wins over the Golden Eagles en route to a perfect 6-0 weekend.
The Golden Eagles had a pair of athletes bat over .300 on the weekend with another two hitting over .270. Morgan McKeever led the offensive attack on the weekend with a .364 batting average. She finished the weekend 4-for-11 with two runs scored and a double. Mackenzie Sher, who batted .308 for the tournament, provided the power production for the Golden Eagles. The senior catcher was 4-for-13 with two doubles, a home run, two RBI, a run scored and a team-best .692 slugging percentage. Arielle Pollock added a .286 performance during the week, while Selena Estrada batted .273 with her first collegiate home run.
In the circle, Southern Miss continued to improve at the Renegade Classic. Shelbee Rodgers posted a pair of complete game performances, holding North Dakota State to just one run while striking out eight Bison batters. Kaitlin Wilson had a team-best .200 batting average against in two appearances on the weekend. Samantha Robles earned the first win of the season by the pitching staff and Danielle Block tossed her first collegiate complete game.
Throughout the first two weeks of the 2014 softball season, Southern Miss has traveled roughly 4,105 miles. The Golden Eagles return to the Southern Miss Softball Complex for the first time this season. USM is 189-132-2 (.588) at home since the Softball Complex opened in 1999. Last season, eight of the team's 14 victories (.571) came at home. The Golden Eagles are 16-9 (.640) in home openers all-time and 12-3 (.800) in home openers at the Southern miss Softball Complex.
Southern Miss and Ole Miss have met 25 times on the softball diamond with the Rebels holding a slight 15-10 (.600) edge in the all-time series. The two teams have met at least once a year since the 2000 season. Last year, the in-state rivals split a doubleheader in Oxford. Southern Miss claimed a 7-4 victory in the opener before falling 3-0 in the nightcap. The Golden Eagles are 3-5 against the Rebels in Hattiesburg.
Scouting the Opposition:
Ole Miss enters the midweek tilt with a 4-6 overall record. Like Southern Miss, Ole Miss had yet to play a home game, playing eight neutral site games and a pair of road games. The Rebels enter the week 0-2 on the road and 4-4 in neutral site games.
Ole Miss has played in a pair of tournaments this season, participating in the Florida Gulf Coast / Four Points by Sheraton Invitational and the College of Charleston Classic. The Rebels finished each tournament with a 2-3 record.