Feb. 25, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team concludes an eight-game homestand with a doubleheader against nationally ranked Baylor on Wednesday night at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The twin bill with the No. 12 Bears is slated to begin at 5:00 p.m.
The midweek games are set for Cram the Complex Night. The first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free Southern Miss t-shirt.
Southern Miss enters the contest after winning three games of a four-game series with Detroit. The Golden Eagles posted back-to-back no-hit shutouts to claim the final two games of the series in run-rule fashion. Pitchers Danielle Block and Shelbee Rodgers notched the first two no-hitters in the Kirsten Voak / Jon Malgradi Era.
Rodgers posted 14 strikeouts in an opening game victory over the Titans. She was the first Golden Eagle pitcher to notch double digit strikeouts since Gabby Luciani had 12 Ks against Nicholls State in a 5-4, eight-inning win on Feb. 25, 2012.
Block's no-hitter was the first no-no since graduate assistant coach Courtney Ramos no-hit Jackson State as a freshman on Feb. 18, 2009. Ramos tossed a complete-game 5.0 innings allowing no runs on no hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in an 8-0 run-rule victory.
In the first six games at home, the Golden Eagles are hitting .333, going 52-for-152 as a team with 16 doubles, four triples and a home run. The team has combined for 30 runs batted in at home with 34 total runs scored.
In the circle, the pitching staff has combined for a 2.69 combined earned run average. The stable of pitchers have tallied 39 strikeouts compared to just 10 walks. The USM pitchers have not allowed a run in 12 innings of work.
Baylor holds a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series. Southern Miss claimed a 3-2 victory in the first meeting between the two teams at the Purple and Gold Challenge in Baton Rouge, La. hosted by LSU in 2000. The Bears won the next two games in the series before the Golden Eagles earned a 4-3 win at home in 2009. Last season, Baylor swept a doubleheader to regain the series advantage.
Eight of the next 10 games will be played against teams from the state of Texas. After playing Baylor, Southern Miss travels to Austin, Texas for the Texas Invitational. At the tournament, the Golden Eagles will play Texas and Texas Southern (2x), as well as ULM (2x). Following the tournament, Southern Miss opens Conference USA play with a three-game conference series at UTEP.
Scouting the Opposition
Baylor enters the doubleheader with a 12-3 overall record. The Bears are coming off a 4-1 performance at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
Pitcher Whitney Canion didn't allow an earned run in 21 innings of work, picking up a save and a 3-0 record last weekend at the Nutter Collegiate Classic. For her performance, Canion was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for the eighth time in her career.