Softball Hosts Florida Atlantic in Final Home Series
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss softball team will play host to Florida Atlantic this weekend as the Golden Eagles conclude the 2015 season with a three-game Conference USA series at home at the Softball Complex. The three-game tilt begins with a doubleheader on Saturday (1:00 p.m.) and concludes with a single game on Sunday (1:00 p.m.).
Saturday's doubleheader will serve as the 15-year reunion of the 2000 Women's College World Series team. The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative mini-poster. Many of the former players will be in attendance. Prior to the game, Courtney Blades, the 2000 Honda Award for Softball Player of the Year, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The Last Meeting
March 23, 2014
Boca Raton, Fla.
Live stats, live video and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the weekend.
Southern Miss enters the weekend with an 18-31 overall record and a 3-18 mark in C-USA play, while Florida Atlantic comes to Hattiesburg with a 32-16-1 overall mark, including a 13-7 record in league action.
The Golden Eagles return home for the first time since Danielle Block tossed a two-hit shutout against No. 21 South Alabama for the team's first win over a ranked team in two years. In the game, Peyton Garner scored the game-winning run on a RBI single from Mallory Hayden.
Southern Miss was on the road last weekend against long-time Conference USA rival UAB. Despite playing well against the Blazers, the Golden Eagles were unable to record the desired outcome.
With just three games remaining in the season, a handful of Golden Eagles are approaching some records.
Rodgers has 253 career strikeouts, which ranks 10th in the Southern Miss annals. She is just five Ks shy of tying Danielle Wymer (2003-06) for ninth all-time and just eight back of Beth Dietrich (2010-13) for eighth.
Michelle Stringer broke into the Southern Miss top 10 for career assists over the weekend. The junior has 267 helpers to tie her with Channika Gant (1999-02) for 10th all-time. She is eight assists back of tying Robin Whittaker (1984-88) and Debbie Anderson (1984-87) for eighth all-time.
Sarah Evans has 835 total chances in her career. She is two shy of tying former teammate and current coach Mackenzie Sher (2011-14) for ninth all-time in school history. In addition, Evans has been hit by 18 pitches in her career. The junior is just one HBP shy of tying Allison Bullard (2005-08) and Jennifer Fox (2005-08) for 10th all-time. Evans is two beanballs away from tying Jessica Huerta (2003-06) and Chrystal Stevens (1999-00) for eighth on the list.
In addition, Bailey Stokes has drawn 31 walks on the year, which is tied for sixth in a single season with Amanda Brown (2001-03) who recorded 31 free passes in 2001 and 2002.
Southern Miss and Florida Atlantic met for the first time last season as the Golden Eagles traveled to Boca Raton, Fla. for the three-game C-USA set. The Owls earned a 2-1 series victory over the Black and Gold.
Southern Miss won the opener, posting a 2-0 shutout. The Owls edged the Golden Eagles, 4-3, in game two and notched the series victory with a Sunday afternoon win.
FAU will be just the second team this season from the Sunshine State that the Golden Eagles will face on the softball diamond. Southern Miss took on Florida Gulf Coast in the Sand Dollar Classic in Gulf Shores, Ala. back on Feb. 8.
Scouting the Opposition:
The Owls are currently the No. 4 seed for the C-USA Tournament, which will be held at FIU on May 7-9. While the team is still mathematically alive for the No. 1 seed, it is possible for the Owls to finish as low as No. 6. FAU won its series versus UTSA last weekend, securing a spot in the tourney.