The Southern Miss Lady Eagles were swept by the fifth-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils at Farrington Stadium over the weekend.
The Sun Devils got on the scoreboard first, with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. The lead off batter, center fielder Alix Johnson got on base with a single, and eventually scored by third baseman Haley Steele’s double to center field. ASU ended the inning with a pair of runners reaching home on a Southern Miss error.
ASU went scoreless in the second frame before Steele hit a home run down the left field line to put the Sun Devils up 4-0. ASU’s pitcher Mackenzie Popescue was perfect through three innings, until Rachel Johnson reached first base on a walk. With a pair of Golden Eagle runners in scoring position and two outs, ASU got out of the inning with a fly ball to center field keeping the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard.
Southern Miss was able to retire Arizona State in order in the bottom of the fourth inning. Amber Freeman led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, and Steele joined her on base after being walked. Both scored when left fielder Elizabeth Caporuscio doubled to left center, just out of reach of Johnson, giving ASU a 6-0 advantage.
The Sun Devils executed the run-rule in the bottom of the fifth when Caporuscio scored on Southern Miss’ fourth error of the game, while first baseman Jennifer Soria reached on a fielder’s choice and took second on the play. Soria scored ASU’s game-winning run on a Golden Eagle errant throw that allowed Soria to steal third base and reach home.
Samantha Robles was the starting pitcher for the Golden Eagles. Robles pitched 4 innings walking three, giving up seven hits and allowing six runs. Danielle Block came in the game to relief, pitching 2/3 of an inning, allowing two runs on two hits.
Southern Miss was shut out again in game two, losing 6-0 Saturday. Southern Miss nearly struck first, as Sarah Evans led off the top of the second inning with a single and Selena Estrada followed with a double to right-center. Dallas Escobedo got herself out of trouble by striking out three straight Golden Eagles
In the third, Rachel Johnson led off the inning with a bunt that got her on first and Morgan McKeever drew a walk. A wild pitch advanced both runners. With two runners in scoring position and no outs, Escobedo once again struck out three batters in a row to escape the inning.
The first points were put on the board in the bottom of the third frame. Right fielder Jennifer Soria led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second after center fielder Alix Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt. Cheyenne Coyle then drove in Soria with a single.
Again, the fifth inning was when the Sun Devils broke the game open when three straight Sun Devils were walked loading the bases. With the bases loaded, Haley Steele stepped up to the plate and hit a single right up the middle that scored Soria and Coyle giving ASU a 3-0 lead.
ASU added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs. Once again, ASU was able to load the bases. Coyle then hit a hard line drive that glanced off the glove of Golden Eagle third baseman Michelle Stringer, scoring both Soria and pinch runner Allie Butterfield, giving Arizona State a 5-0 lead. ASU used a sacrifice fly that allowed Johnson to score giving the Sun Devil’s a 6-0 lead that they would hold on to and win.
In the final game of the series, Southern Miss was shutout for the third consecutive time. With the win, fifth-ranked ASU’s record improved to 42-7 while Southern Miss dropped to 22-28 on the year.
ASU got on the board in the third inning as shortstop Cheyenne Coyle homered for the tenth time this season, a two-RBI liner over the left field fence to score right fielder Bailey Wigness, who reached based on an infield single to start off the inning.
That score held pat until the bottom of the sixth when the Sun Devils scored three more runs. The first came from a homer off of Haley Steele’s bat. Katee Aguiree put ASU up 4-0 with a triple. The final run came when Wigness hit a RBI that was just out of reach of third baseman Stringer.
USM struggled to hit and was unable to get runs and keep the game going past the seventh frame. Southern Miss ends their season against FIU at home next Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday being senior night for the Golden Eagles.