March 22, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss softball team is back in action this weekend when they host Conference USA rival UTEP in a three-game set at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.
Due to approaching weather, Saturday's doubleheader, originally scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., will start at 11 a.m.. Sunday's game time, set for Noon, is unchanged at this time.
The Golden Eagles (10-20, 0-6 C-USA) are coming off a road series at conference foe Marshall and will be searching for their first conference victory of the season against the Miners (9-14, 0-3 C-USA), who are also in a similar situation, after being swept by Memphis to open C-USA play two weeks ago.
El Paso, Texas
In last season's matchup, the Golden Eagles and Miners combined to score 52 in the first two games of the series at Helen of Troy Field in El Paso, but it was UTEP who came away with a pair of one-run victories (13-12, 14-13) to win the series on Saturday. Southern Miss rebounded and won Sunday's game 9-8 behind the bat of senior Leslie LeJune who knocked in four runs in the game.
This year, the Miners are without national home run leader's Camilla Carrera (32 in 2012) and Chelsea Troupe (19) but are still hitting at a .279 clip with Kawehiokala Netane leading the way, hitting .356 with a .559 slugging percentage. The Miners are also in the top five of most majoring hitting categories among C-USA teams. Colleen Hohman (4-6) and Danielle Pearson (4-5) have seen the bulk of the work in the circle for the Miners who are pitching a 4.32 ERA as a team.
For Southern Miss, getting the bats going again will go a long way in picking up their first conference series of the year. In a lineup that routinely features as many as five freshman hitters, the Golden Eagles are hitting .234 as a team while freshman Morgan McKeever bumped her average up nearly 30 points, to .310, last weekend at Marshall.
In the circle, freshman Kaitlin Wilson (4-8) and Kimberly Wagner (6-4) lead the team in appearances but both senior Beth Dietrich and Emily Wood have given Southern Miss as many as four viable arms for the weekend.
This weekend's games will also be a part of Military Appreciation Weekend. The first 100 fans into the park will receive a free pair of Golden Eagle Pride sunglasses while all reserved, active, or retired military who show their ID can purchase a ticket for $2. Athletic Director Jeff Hammond will also throw out the first pitch on Saturday and the Southern Miss Air Force ROTC will present the colors on Sunday.
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