Junior Michelle Stringer throws the gall as the team practices for a few minutes between innings of the first home game of the season. The Lady Eagles lost all three games against North Texas this weekend. -Susan Broadbridge
Southern Miss traveled to Denton, Texas, over the weekend and was swept by the North Texas Mean Green.
In game one on Saturday, Morgan McKeever led off the game with a single, extending her hitting streak to 11 games and reached base streak to 20 games. The Golden Eagles advanced McKeever to third base on a couple groundouts, but were unable to push the run across home plate.
Jillian Johnson started on the mound for USM, but was roughed up. Dani Hoff singled up the middle for an RBI, giving the Mean Green a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
In the bottom of the second inning, the North Texas offense exploded for five runs on three hits. Spencer Ferrell’s two RBI double sparked the attack to give the Mean Green a 6-0 lead.
With runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom of the third, USM went to the bullpen, bringing in senior Shelbee Rodgers to relieve Johnson. Rodgers got out of the jam, but her success was short-lived.
North Texas added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, generated by errors from the USM defense. The Lady Eagles committed two errors, had one wild pitch and one walk in the inning.
Southern Miss had to score at least one run in the fifth to prevent the run-rule, but came up empty handed on offense and lost the game 8-0 in five innings.
Johnson (2-2) took the loss pitching for USM, giving up five hits and six runs.
McKeever led the Golden Eagles on offense with two hits.
Rodgers earned the start on the mound for the Lady Eagles in game two. USM responded from the shutout, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. McKeever’s hot bat continued as she led off for the Golden Eagles with a single to center field.
Kaelyn Christofferson reached first on a fielder’s choice, but McKeever was thrown out at second base. A wild pitch advanced Christofferson to second base then Jordan Beck drilled a two-run home run down the left field line, giving USM their first lead of the day, 2-0.
North Texas answered with two runs of their own in the first-off three hits. Kelli Schkade led off the inning with a solo homerun to left field, cutting USM’s lead in half. They scored another run on an RBI fielder’s choice bunt.
In the bottom of the second inning, North Texas continued their fiery offensive attack, adding three more runs on five hits.
Danielle Block relieved Rodgers on the mound, looking to get USM out of the jam.
Block forced two pop-ups to end the Mean Green’s hot inning, but USM still trailed 5-2.
The Southern Miss offense came alive in the top of the third inning, scoring four runs on five hits. The rally began with another leadoff single from McKeever, followed by a single from Christofferson.
Sarah Evans smacked a two-run double to the right center field wall, scoring both McKeever and Christofferson. Evans cut the North Texas lead to 5-4 with no outs.
Cleary followed with a double, nearly going over the right field wall, sending Evans across home plate. Michelle Stringer singled to left field for an RBI, giving USM a 6-5 lead.
North Texas’ offense showed no signs of slowing down though, scoring four more runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Mean Green used a pair of doubles to tie the game at 6-6, and then scattered three more runs to take the lead, 9-6, over USM.
McKeever doubled down the right field line to start the fourth inning for the Golden Eagles. Evans followed with an RBI groundout, scoring McKeever and cutting the deficit to 9-7.
The Golden Eagles were able to scratch another run in the top of the fifth, on a clutch RBI walk from McKeever, facing a full count.
North Texas retaliated in the bottom of the inning, adding two runs with one hit and a pair of throwing errors by USM.
Southern Miss could not generate more offense to keep up with North Texas. USM fell 12-8 in hard-fought game two.
McKeever had multiple hits in the double header, adding three more in game two and scoring twice. Evans had two hits and three RBIs while Mallory Hayden added two hits.
Block (4-3) took the loss for the USM pitching staff.
In game three, Southern Miss lost 4-2.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the second inning when Bryana Wade put the Mean Green up 2-0 on a home run to left center field.
McKeever started off the third inning with a single to left center, but was unable to score for USM. McKeever extended her team-leading hit streak to 13.
North Texas’ Kat Strunk increased their lead to four with a two-run home run to left center field in the third inning.
Southern Miss rallied in the top of the sixth inning, cutting the North Texas lead in half and scoring two runs. Hayden led off with a double to left center field and advanced to second on an illegal pitch.
Stokes walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch, making the score 4-1. Christofferson grounded out for an RBI, sending Stokes across home plate. McKeever then singled to right center, but the rally ended when Selena Estrada struck out.
Hayden added three hits while McKeever had two. Johnson (2-3) took the loss for the Golden Eagles.
USM will travel to Mobile, Alabama to take on the South Alabama Jaguars Wednesday at 6 p.m.