Southern Miss (20-23) hosted No. 4 Alabama (36-7) this past Tuesday losing 7-1. The Golden Eagles came into the contest after a dominant offensive showcase against the University of Texas at San Antonio this past weekend but failed to repeat the offensive showing against the Crimson Tide.
Southeastern Conference opponents have proved to be Southern Miss’ kryptonite as the Golden Eagles have only won one out of their last five games against an opponent in that conference.
“One thing we have to learn is – no matter who we play, no matter what uniform they are wearing – we can play anybody,” said coach Wendy Hogue.
The Golden Eagles knew that they would have to play their best ball to defeat the No. 4 team in the nation. They did just that early in the game by retiring the first three Alabama hitters in order.
The efficient pitching and fielding displayed by the Golden Eagles in those early innings did not last long.
In the top of the second inning, Alabama started to prosper off of Southern Miss’ mistakes.
In the circle, Danielle Block walked four batters and gave up two hits. Block walked two consecutive batters in bases loaded situations, resulting in Alabama scoring two unearned runs.
Block pitched three innings before being replaced by Jillian Johnson in the fourth inning. Despite being down 4-0, Johnson did not let the deficit affect her play as she finished the ball game with three strikeouts, allowing one hit and one run.
“Jillian is doing some really good things.” Hogue said. “She has a short memory and pitchers need that.”
Southern Miss not only struggled at times with the defensive aspect of the game but also with hitting. The Golden Eagles accumulated three hits in the entire game. Much can be accredited to Alabama’s pitcher Alexis Osorio, who recorded 10 strikeouts on the night.
“The difference between our pitchers and their pitchers, is their pitchers hit their spot,” Hogue said.
Despite being behind the whole game, Southern Miss’ effort never deteriorated. Tori Dew leads the Golden Eagle squad in batting percentage, batting a.355 on the season.
Dew’s effort and energy was present throughout the game. Dew recorded one hit on the night to extend her three-game hitting streak, showcasing her leadership on the field.
“I have never really been a follower, I like being a leader.” Dew said. “The weight on my shoulder does not really bother me too much. I have to do the right things with being considered a leader.”
Southern Miss should not dwell on the loss as it still has 10 regular season games left to reach the .500 mark.
The Golden Eagles will host North Texas April 16 at home to start a three-game series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.