Lady Eagles Come Up Short, Swept by La. Tech
Katie Cleary began USM’s offensive attack in the bottom of the second at the game against Louisianna Tech on Sunday. USM’s offense was not enough to beat La. Tech, however, and the Lady Eagles suffered from a loss of 3-0. -Courtesy photo/Joe Harper
Louisiana Tech (19-8, 4-2) sealed a series sweep over Southern Miss with a 3-0 win Sunday at the Softball Complex.
The Lady Eagles dropped to 15-14 overall and 1-8 in conference play during their Breast Cancer Awareness weekend series. USM was looking to snap their four-game losing streak, but could not get the job done.
La. Tech quickly heated up on offense in the first inning of game one. Anna Cross knocked a two-run homerun over the left field fence, giving the Techsters an early 2-0 lead.
Katie Cleary began USM’s offensive attack in the bottom of the second with a single through the right side. Mallory Hayden followed with a walk, receiving four straight balls.
Kaelyn Christofferson then singled between third base and shortstop, loading up the bases for the Lady Eagles. Freshman Samantha Reynolds singled to third base, sending Cleary across home plate and cutting the La. Tech lead in half, 2-1.
In the top of the fourth inning, USM turned an exciting double play but La. Tech was able to notch another run with two outs. Janine Godwin was hit by a pitch, then Katie Smith walked on a full count.
Karlee Jensen singled up the middle for an RBI, increasing La. Tech’s lead to 3-1.
The Lady Eagles needed to answer in the bottom of the fourth, but were held scoreless as Cleary and Hayden both flied out and Christofferson struck out swinging.
A throwing error in the top of the fifth inning by Southern Miss set up Bianca Duran’s RBI double to center field, scoring another run for the Techsters.
USM responded when Morgan McKeever doubled to center field with two outs. Selena Estrada followed with a single to right center on a full count pitch, scoring McKeever from second base.
Southern Miss had cut the La. Tech lead to 4-2 with two innings left to play, but the Lady Eagles could not generate enough offense to tie the game, losing game one.
The Lady Eagles had eight total hits while La. Tech had nine, keeping pace with them but not stringing enough hits together at the right time.
Danielle Block (4-4) took the loss for the USM pitching staff, giving up seven hits and four runs while striking out three.
In game two, La. Tech’s Krysta Tutsch put the first run on the board with a solo home run to right field in the second inning. The Techsters strung two more hits together that inning, but Lady Eagle pitcher Jillian Johnson got her team out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts.
In the top of the fourth inning, with the bases loaded for La. Tech, USM went to the bullpen. Block relieved Johnson and forced Cross to line out to the third baseman, Michelle Stringer, on a full count and got Southern Miss out of the jam unharmed.
Estrada led off the fourth inning with a single, knocking the first pitch to center field. Cleary followed with a single to left field. Hayden then hit an RBI single in the gap of right center field, scoring Estrada from second base and tying the game 1-1.
The game remained scoreless for three more innings, forcing an extra inning game. Both teams played tough defensively for the eighth and ninth innings, allowing only one hit and no runs scored.
The Techsters heated up in the tenth inning offensively. Tutsch reached first base on a bunt down the third base line. Duran singled to left field, advancing Tutsch to
USM called senior Shelbee Rodgers out of the bullpen to relieve Block on the mound. Rodgers walked the first batter she faced, loading up the bases for the Techsters.
Jensen lined a single up the middle, sending two runs home. La. Tech led 3-1, while the Lady Eagles had to score two in the bottom of the tenth to keep the game going.
Southern Miss could not swing La. Tech’s momentum, going three up, three down on offense to end the exciting extra inning game with a 3-1 loss.
Block (4-5) suffered the loss for USM’s pitching staff, allowing three hits and two runs with four strikeouts.
In game three, La. Tech began their offensive attack in the second inning when Godwin reached first base on a fielding error by McKeever. Katie Smith singled down the left field line, advancing Godwin to
Natalie Moran reached first on a fielder’s choice while USM’s shortstop, Hayden, fielded the ground ball and tossed it to second base to get Smith out. The runners were at first and third for La. Tech when Moran was thrown out stealing second base, but Godwin was able to score on the throw.
The Techsters took an early 1-0 lead over USM. La. Tech scored two more runs in the fifth inning, expanding their lead as the Lady Eagle bats were silent.
Kristen Miles reached first on another fielding error by USM, which set up Cross’ two-run home run over the left center field fence. Cross increased La Tech’s lead to 3-0.
USM but could not generate enough offense to catch up with La. Tech, and lost the final game by a score of 3-0.
Both teams had four hits but the two errors made by the USM defense resulted in runs for the Techsters.
Cleary had three hits for Southern Miss. Shelbee Rodgers’ pitching record dropped to 4-5, giving up four hits and three runs with two strikeouts.
The Lady Eagles will look to bounce back Wednesday as they host Mississippi State at 4 p.m.