Mental toughness sets up Marshall upset
Southern Miss, known for making plays against teams where they come in as underdogs, snapped Marshall’s 17-game winning streak on Saturday, 8-0 in doubleheader fashion.
“Marshall’s been close to being beat a few times but it doesn’t matter, they came out with the ‘W’ and the other team got the ‘L,’” said Head Coach Wendy Hogue. “Today, it went our way.”
The Southern Miss softball team had been struggling against teams of late, dropping five out of their last eight games before the Marshall series. After making a 21-5 statement against the Jackson State Tigers on March 29, Southern Miss was looking to provide another impact coming into the series against Marshall.
“Let them play Southern Miss softball,” said pitcher Samantha Robles. “Don’t let them start playing Marshall softball or else we’ll get beat.”
In the first game against Marshall, USM had not only been blanked, but only had three hits in a 5-0 losing effort. Kim Crowson’s five innings yielded four runs on six hits and only struck out one batter. Jade Lewis replaced Crowson, and gave up three hits in Crowson’s seventh loss of the season.
“That’s a great hitting team,” Hogue said. “Anytime a team is undefeated in conference and hitting above .300, they’ve got some kids who can swing it. We don’t expect shutouts every game we play.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, it was a different tone.
“The first game of a three-game series has got to set the tone,” Hogue said. “There’s too many lessons to throw out [the] first game. The way that we finished the first game allowed us to roll [into] the six and seventh innings and put us in a position to have a good game two.”
First baseman Tori Dew singled to bring home Samantha Reynolds in the first inning to put USM up, 1-0. With that offensive momentum, it kept USM to push forward and to not think about the previous game in which Southern Miss could not get on the scoreboard.
“We were looking for the flip to switch in the second game,” Robles said. “That’s always key to coming out and getting ahead first. Whenever we came back [to play] and got that first run, my mentality completely changed. Now it’s keep them in our ballpark, keep them in our field, let them play our game.”
Mental toughness is important to Hogue, especially when having to come back from a loss just 30 minutes prior to the second leg of a doubleheader. The second game was a completely different story with Southern Miss more than doubling their hit totals and cutting their errors in half.
“I want us to be consistently tough when it comes to mentality,” Hogue said. “Lot of mental toughness displayed in the second game there. Our girls haven’t lost confidence or anything. We feel like we’ve turned that corner, we’ve just got to be consistent.”
With that win against Marshall in the second game, Southern Miss is able to gain the confidence to close out the series and continue to blemish Marshall’s 10-1 C-USA record.
“Conference USA is a tough conference and anybody can beat anybody on any given day,” Hogue said. “There’s been tons of close ballgames.”
Southern Miss will close out their series on Sunday against Marshall. First pitch is at 1 p.m.