USM drops two of three to Blazers

USM drops two of three to Blazers

Junior Shelbee Rodgers pitches against UAB Saturday afternoon at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.  The team broke an 11-game losing streak with the Blazers but fell in the second game.   Hunt Mercier / Printz

Junior Shelbee Rodgers pitches against UAB Saturday afternoon at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The team broke an 11-game losing streak with the Blazers but fell in the second game.
Hunt Mercier / Printz

The Southern Miss softball team hosted the UAB Blazers this weekend at the Southern Miss Softball Complex in a three-game series.

Southern Miss and UAB have faced off 46 times over the years, not including this weekend’s series. Neither has held an advantage over the other, each winning half of those contests. The Golden Eagles came into the weekend series with a 19-21 record and 7-8 in C-USA play.

Southern Miss won the first game of the weekend 3-1, snapping an 11-game losing streak to UAB. The Blazers appeared in control until USM tied the score in the bottom frame of the third inning. Sarah Evans led off the inning and hit a single to reach base.

Michelle Stringer was next to bat, and with one out she connected for a single.  Following an out, Morgan McKeever stepped up with a single that brought Gamer, who entered the game for Evans, home to tie the score at 1-1.

USM used the latter half of the fourth inning to take the game over. With one out in the inning, Arielle Pollock hit a line drive to second base and beat the throw to first to get on base. An error by the second baseman allowed Tori Rouse to advance to third base and score on the next at bat. For the third time this season, Pollock used her speed to steal third base and get in scoring position.

Evans was up to bat, and with a 3-2 count, hit a single to bring Pollock home and give the Golden Eagles a 3-1 lead.  For the remainder of the game USM relied on its firm pitching and solid defense to keep the lead and get the victory in game one.

In game two, both teams had a hard time getting on the scoreboard, remaining scoreless until the sixth inning.

With two out in the top of the sixth, USM committed an error that allowed right fielder JoJo Fallen to reach third base. With two out and a runner on third, Ashley Johnson stepped to the plate and drove Fallen home on an unearned run. Samantha Robles would strikeout Anna Theriot to get out of the sixth inning.

The next score came in the seventh inning when Johnson hit a solo homer, her first of the season and gave the Blazers a 2-0 lead that was never renounced. Southern Miss struggled to make contact with the ball, recording just one hit in game two.

In game three, UAB won 3-0, shutting out USM for the second consecutive time. Shelbee Rodgers started on the mound for USM allowing three runs, ten hits, four walks and nine strikeouts. Much like game two of the series, USM struggled to get hits, recording just one hit in game three.

The first score came in the fourth inning with a runner on second and one out. UAB’s Amy Waters hit a single to right center field allowing UAB to get on the board.

In the top of the seventh inning, a pinch-hit single and a bunt single got a pair of runners on first and second base. The next batter was walked loading the bases for the Blazers.

With the bases loaded Amy Dennis drove in two runners, giving UAB a 3-0 lead. USM’s luck did not change at bat as they struggled on offense and could not extend the game. UAB now leads the series 25-24.

USM travels to Ruston, La., to face Louisiana Tech in a three-game series next weekend.

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