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Sports Softball Lady Eagles finish 3-1 in Lion Classic

Lady Eagles finish 3-1 in Lion Classic

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The Southern Miss softball team traveled to Hammond, Louisiana for the Lion Classic, finishing the tournament, 3-1, over the weekend.

A strong offensive surge and pitching helped Southern Miss route UAPB, 24-1, in game one of the tournament on Friday.

Southern Miss scored the most runs in a game since Feb. 28, 2009 when the team hit a school-record 29 runs.

The Lady Eagles (3-3) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, hitting the ball only twice in the first inning. After Selena Estrada walked in the game, Sarah Evans walked before
Mallory Hayden hit a two-run double to the right infield, giving the Lady Eagles a 2-0 lead.

Morgan McKeever hit a single, bringing Hayden home from second base. Then, following a wild pitch and walks from Bailey Stokes and Michelle Stringer, Tori Rouse walked and scored an RBI, increasing the Lady Eagles lead 4-0.

In the second, Southern Miss continued to dominate in all aspects of the game. Evans blasted a triple to center field, bringing Samantha Reynolds home for an earned run. Following the triple, Katie Cleary kept the hot-batting series going for the Lady Eagles, hitting an RBI single. Then, with a runner on first, Stokes hit a two-run home run to give Southern Miss an 8-0 lead.

The Lady Lions scored their only run in the second when Page Garcia hit a solo home run.

With Southern Miss up 8-1 against UAPB, the Lady Eagles kept the pressure on the Lady Lions, recording a total of nine runs on seven hits.

Southern Miss sent 13 different Lady Eagle players to the plate to bat, several walks and Stokes and Stringer hit back-to-back doubles in the inning to give the Lady Eagles a 17-1 lead.

In the fourth inning, Stokes hit a solo home run and in the fifth, the Lady Eagles went on a tear, scoring six runs on five hits and two errors. Jenifer Gary and Stokes both hit doubles in the inning, Peyton Garner blasted a triple and Garner and Gary recorded two RBI respectively, giving the Lady Eagles a 24-1 victory.

For the game, Southern Miss recorded 19 hits, three home runs, five doubles and two triples. Senior pitcher Shelbee Rodgers allowed one run through five innings, two walks and struck out eight.

The bats remained warm as Southern Miss continued its offensive surge, defeating Houston Baptist, 12-3, in game one Saturday morning.

Southern Miss scored four runs in the first inning. Kaelyn Christofferson began the scoring drive for the Lady Eagles, hitting a single to midfield. After a Evans single and Christofferson moved to third base, Cleary blasted a triple to give Southern Miss a 2-0 lead.

With two Lady Eagle players on base, Michele Stringer hit a two-RBI single towards center field, giving Southern Miss a 4-0 cushion.

Southern Miss added two runs in the second, increasing its lead to 6-0. Despite being down in the game, Houston Baptist fought back in the third inning, scoring three runs on four hits to cut the lead to 6-3.

The Lady Eagles scored two more runs in the fourth before sealing the victory in the fifth inning, recording four runs to win its second walk-off run-rule victory for the tournament.

In a rematch of the opening game, Southern Miss used strong defense and offense in critical points of the game to earn the victory, shutting out UAPB, 4-0, in game two on Saturday.

Neither team scored through the first three innings but Samantha Robles hit a RBI single to give Southern Miss a 1-0 lead in the game.

In the fifth inning, the Lady Eagles offense came to life. McKeever hit an infield single before Christofferson bunted. Following Rachel Johnson’s fielder’s choice and two Lady Eagle players on bases, Evans hit a single to the right center field, setting up a Cleary for a two-RBI single towards midfield to increase the Lady Eagles lead to 3-0.

Southern Miss then added one more run in the sixth inning to earn its second victory against the Lady Lions, 4-0.

With three wins in the tournament including a shutout, Southeastern Louisiana gave Southern Miss its only loss of the tournament, defeating the Lady Eagles 12-6 in the final game on Sunday afternoon.

SLU jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. Following the first earned run by SLU, a walk and a RBI single allowed the Lady Lions to increase their lead to 2-0.

Then, with two runs and one out, Vanessa Eng blasted a three run home run to put pressure on the Lady Eagles, giving SLU a 5-0 cushion.

Despite falling behind early, the Lady Eagles fought back in the second inning. With the bases loaded, Morgan McKeever hit a two-RBI single towards midfield to make the score 5-2.

While neither team scored in the third inning, the Lady Lions scored three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. A triple from Kinsey Nichols led to a SLU runner to score, increasing the Lady Lions lead to 6-2.

Then, after a couple of singles and a bad pitch, SLU scored on a RBI groundout to increase its lead to 8-2.

However, Southern Miss would not give up as the Lady Eagles scored four runs in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Evans hit a home run to make the score 8-6.

Like Southern Miss, Southeastern Louisiana scored three runs of its own thanks to a bunt and single, putting two SLU players on base. Sydney Booker then blasted a three run triple to bring in two runs for SLU, followed by infield single to give the Lady Lions their last run of the inning, increasing their lead to 11-6.

Then, in the sixth inning, Lacey Fritz hit a solo home run to give the Lady Lions its final run of the game, winning 12-6.

As a team, the Lady Eagles recorded six runs on 11 hits. McKeever led the team with three hits while Evans and Katie Cleary each added two respectively. Evans led the team with four RBI followed by McKeever with two. Six different Lady Eagle players scored a run in the contest.

Southern Miss returns to action on Friday as the Lady Eagles play Mississippi Valley State in their first home game of the season at 6 p.m.

Wilton Jacksonhttp://wiltonjackson.wix.com/wiltonjacksonpage
Wilton is a senior broadcast journalism student with a minor in Spanish at the University of Southern Mississippi. He serves as a sports reporter the Printz and HubCityTV. He also writes for other sports publications and serves as the Vice President of Broadcast for the Southern Miss Association of Black Journalists.
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