Offensive woes, errors hurt the Lady Eagles in loss
The lack of offense and errors plagued The University of Southern Mississippi softball team as they lost to No. 7 Alabama 12-0 in a non-conference game at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.
Neither team scored in the first inning, but in the top of the second, the Crimson Tide got its offense going. After Danae Hays was hit by a pitch, Chaunsey Bell singled to left field, allowing Hays to advance to second.
With two outs in the inning, Haylie McCleney doubled to right field, sending Hays to home plate and Bell to third base. Then, Kallie Case blasted a two-RBI single to centerfield, allowing McCleney and Bell to score and giving the Crimson Tide a 3-0 advantage.
Southern Miss struggled offensively throughout the game. The Lady Eagles had only one hit in the first inning and did not have another until the fourth inning. Solid pitching from the Lady Eagles hindered the Crimson Tide bats for several innings.
Alabama increased its lead in the top of the sixth. Danielle Richard hit a double to left field to put a runner in scoring position. After an error by the Lady Eagles, Hays stole a base and Richard went on to score an unearned run. Then, after Bell singled to centerfield, Marisa Runyon converted on a pinch-hit home run to increase the lead to 7-0.
In the seventh inning, the Crimson Tide exploded for five runs. Alabama took advantage of the errors committed by Southern Miss to put the game away. Four of the five runs scored in the inning were unearned.
“We are an up-and-coming team and we are here to compete,” said co-head coach Kirsten Voak after the game. “We have a predominantly young team so seeing them come out and not have the jitters that they did last year and to mature the way they have been is great.”
For the game, Southern Miss tallied only six hits. Sophomore Katie Cleary led the Lady Eagles with three hits. Morgan McKeever, Sarah Evans and Taylor Beck each had one hit on the evening.
“Katie has been doing it all season,” Voak said. “For our freshman and sophomores to come out here and not blink an eye is impressive.”
The Lady Eagles will continue their non-conference schedule over the weekend as they travel to Phoenix, Ariz., to take on nationally ranked Arizona State in a three-game series.