The Southern Miss softball team earned its first conference win of the season against UTEP in El Paso, Texas on March 23-24 following wins in the first and third games of the series. Alyssa Davis hit two grand slams for the Golden Eagles to highlight the series.
In the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Southern Miss scored one run in each of the first three innings. Davis’ grand slam for the Golden Eagles in the fourth inning broke the game open and gave the team a 7-0 lead over the Miners.
An RBI single from Destini Brown and subsequent RBI on a fielder’s choice from Karley Nichols allowed Lacey Sumerlin and Beth Taylor to score and extend the Southern Miss lead to 9-1.
UTEP scored its second run of the game on a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Southern Miss responded in the top of the seventh inning with a Sumerlin RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Davis. The Golden Eagles held on to earn the Game 1 win by a score of 11-3.
Pitcher Abby Trahan earned the win in the circle by striking out three batters and allowing two runs in six innings pitched. Bailie Springfield entered in relief and allowed two hits and one run over one inning pitched.
In Game 2, UTEP opened the game with three runs in the bottom of the first inning and held Southern Miss scoreless defensively over the first three innings. An RBI single from Davis in the top of the fourth inning allowed Brown to score, giving Southern Miss its first run of the game, but the Miners added to their lead with a run scored in the bottom of the fourth.
The Golden Eagles closed the UTEP lead to 4-3 in the top of the fifth with two runs scored by Caroline Casey and Chase Nelson, but UTEP added another run in the bottom half inning to extend its lead once again.
Two RBI doubles in the top of the sixth inning by Brown and Nichols tied the game up at 5-5 between the two teams, but again the Miners added a run off of a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning. The second tie score of the game came in the top of the seventh inning when Davis hit an RBI single that scored Sumerlin and forced extra inning play.
Following a scoreless top half of the eighth inning, UTEP clinched a 7-6 win in game two with a solo walk-off home run to left field.
UTEP out-hit Southern Miss 12-10 in the contest. Kaylan Lander, who recorded the loss for Southern Miss, allowed five hits and three runs over 1.1 innings, while Makenna Pierce allowed seven hits and four runs in the circle over 6.1 innings pitched.
Sunday’s Game 3 rubber match started out well for Southern Miss, with three runs scored in the first inning by Nelson, Brown and Sumerlin. The Golden Eagles continued their scoring streak with six runs in the second inning. Bases-loaded walks from Sumerlin and Sarah Van Schaik allowed two runs to score and were followed by Davis’ second grand slam of the series.
Leading 9-0 at the start of the third inning, Southern Miss added two runs on an RBI double from Sumerlin and a two-run home run from Davis gave the team a 12-0 lead.
UTEP added two runs in the bottom of the third inning, but following a scoreless fourth inning for both teams, Davis scored again off of a Madison Rayner sacrifice fly, sealing the run-rule and series-clinching win for the team.
Sumerlin finished the game by going 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, while Davis was 4-for-4 with eight RBI in the contest.
Trahan earned her second win of the weekend in the circle for Game 3, pitching all five innings and allowing eight hits and striking out four batters. Trahan’s season record is now 7-7 following the series.
On the weekend, Davis accounted for 15 RBI in 12 at-bats for the Golden Eagles.
With the series win, Southern Miss improves to 17-14 on the season and 4-5 in conference play. They take on Marshall at home in a three-game conference series beginning on March 30 and ending on March 31. The first game will start at 1 p.m. on March 30.