Feb. 27, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team travels to Austin, Texas for the 2014 Texas Invitational hosted by the University of Texas. The Golden Eagles will play games against Texas Southern (2x), ULM (2x) and tournament-host Texas. All five games will be aired on ESPN Longhorn Network.
In addition, live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the weekend.
Southern Miss opens up the tournament with Texas Southern at 1:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The Golden Eagles take on the Longhorns in Friday's nightcap at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, Southern Miss and Texas Southern open the day with a game at 10:00 a.m. The Golden Eagles play ULM at 3:30 p.m. USM concludes the tournament with a game against the Warhawks on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m.
Southern Miss enters the weekend 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.
Six of the next eight games will be played against teams from the state of Texas. In addition, the next eight games Southern Miss plays will be in the Lone Star State. 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.
Southern Miss and Texas Southern meet on the softball diamond for the first time in program history. Texas holds a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series, sweeping a doubleheader back in 2002. ULM owns a 20-12 edge in the all-time series, dating back to the inaugural season in 1983.