After earning their first wins of the season against Alcorn State on Feb.13, the Southern Miss Softball team hosted four other teams at the Softball Complex for the Black and Gold Invitational from Feb.16-18. The Golden Eagles lost three games and won one during the three-day tournament.
In their first game against No. 9 Alabama on Feb.16, the Golden Eagles struggled to generate hits and runs. The team only managed to collect three hits during the contest, compared to Alabama’s 13 hits. Senior pitchers Kim Crowson, Samantha Robles and Jillian Johnson all made appearances during the game. Each pitcher allowed multiple runs with Robles and Crowson allowing four hits and Johnson allowing three hits.
Alabama went on to win the game with a score of 11-1 after bringing in four runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
During the Saturday’s contest against No.11 Baylor, the Golden Eagles kept it close for most of the game. After Baylor’s Kyla Walker scored on a throwing error in the top of the first inning, Samantha Papp responded for the Golden Eagles with a solo home run in the top of the second inning to tie them 1-1. An RBI-single from Destini Brown put Southern Miss ahead 2-1.
Baylor came back to tie the game in the top of the third inning off a Nicky Dawson RBI single, but both teams held each other to zero runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The game was tied at two-all heading into the seventh inning.
Despite Southern Miss’ momentum heading into the seventh, Baylor took the lead in the top half of the inning after Walker scored off a Goose McGlaun RBI-single. The Lady Bears held on in the bottom of the seventh to get the 3-2 win over the Golden Eagles.
Robles took the loss for Southern Miss against the Lady Bears, allowing 10 hits, three runs and striking out one batter in 6.2 innings of work.
“We’ve got to take some momentum and build,” Head Coach Wendy Hogue said. “We’ve just got to get over that little bitty hump.”
On the final day of the tournament, the Golden Eagles faced their third nationally ranked team in No. 24 ranked McNeese State.
The Cowgirls got out to a 2-0 lead in the first three innings of the contest. The Golden Eagles battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the third after Papp hit an RBI-single that brought Samantha Reynolds home. Sarah Van Schaik then doubled which scored Chase Nelson.
The 2-2 tie between the two teams held until the top of the sixth inning, when the Cowgirls tacked on two more runs to regain the lead. They also added an additional run in the top of the seventh off of an Erika Piancastelli home run to seal the 5-2 win over the Golden Eagles.
In their final contest against a winless Mississippi Valley State squad, the Golden Eagles’ bats came alive. Southern Miss came out by scoring two runs in the first inning and connected with the ball throughout the contest, notching 12 hits and scoring nine runs in the 9-2 win over the Devilettes.
Karley Nichols led the way for the Golden Eagles against the Devilettes at the plate, getting three hits in four at bats, as well as three runs. Crowson and Robles combined to strike out three batters and allowed five hits against Mississippi Valley State on the mound.
Though her team lost three games over the weekend, Coach Hogue was glad to end the weekend of action on a high note.
“We’ve grown so much,” Hogue said. “Every adjustment that we ask them to make; they’re just making those things.”
The Golden Eagles will return to action with a midweek home contest against Alabama State on Feb. 21. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.