May 2, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi softball team concludes the 2014 regular season with a three-game Conference USA series with league newcomer FIU. The three-game set begins with a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon (1:00 p.m.) and concludes with a single game on Sunday (12:00 p.m.) at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.
Sunday's game will serve as Senior Day as the Golden Eagles' two seniors - Taylor Beck and Mackenzie Sher - will play their final home game. Live stats and in-game tweets (@USMSoftball) will be available throughout the weekend.
Heading into the final week of the regular season, teams are fighting for one of the coveted eight spots in the 2014 Conference USA Softball Championship. League-leader and No. 18 Tulsa clinched the No. 1 seed for the tournament with a series sweep of Middle Tennessee last weekend. Seeds No. 2-No. 8 will determined by final conference series showdowns.
UAB enters the weekend in second place with a 13-7 record just ahead of North Texas who is 12-8 in league play. FIU comes to Hattiesburg with a 12-9 record, tying the Golden Panthers for fourth with tournament-host Florida Atlantic and East Carolina. Entering the weekend, Southern Miss is tied for seventh with Marshall with a 10-11 record in conference play. Charlotte, who is the only team done with C-USA play, is 10-13, followed by UTSA (9-12), UTEP (8-13) and Louisiana Tech (7-13). Middle Tennessee, who is 2-18 entering the weekend, is the only team mathematically eliminated from tournament contention.
Southern Miss and FIU have met once previously. The two teams squared off in the North Carolina Invitational on April 10, 1999. The Golden Eagles claimed the neutral site victory, 5-0.
The Black and Gold will look to get back to their winning ways. After sweeping a doubleheader on the road against Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss has dropped five games in a row, including four to teams ranked in the NFCA Top 10 - No. 5 Arizona State (3x) and No. 7 Alabama.
Following the conclusion of the Arizona State series, the Golden Eagles have now played 10 games against teams currently in the NFCA Top 10 - No. 3 Arizona State (3x), No. 4 Florida State (3x), No. 6 Alabama (1x) and No. 9 Arizona (3x). (NOTE: Ranks indicate current ranking, not ranking when played against Southern Miss.)
The Panthers are coming off a three-game sweep of the North Texas Mean Green last weekend. Following a 4-for-5, five RBI performance versus North Texas, freshman Stephanie Texeira collected her second C-USA Hitter of the Week award this season, becoming just one-of-two players in the division to earn the accolade multiple times in 2014.