After winning their weekend series against Texas-San Antonio, 2 – 1, the Southern Miss softball team ranks eighth for the C-USA tournament on May 10, but Southern Miss should not get to excited as they still have six C-USA games to determine their fate.
“I want to see some really good things to draw from this week’s play,” said Head Coach Wendy Hogue. “We have nine more games but six of them will dictate what we do in about three weeks [C-USA tournament].”
Winning two of the three-game series this weekend put Southern Miss at 8 – 11 in conference play and fourth in the western division. The fourth spot in the western division does not guarantee a spot in the conference tournament play but is good news for the Lady Eagles.
With two three-game conference series’ against Western Kentucky and Charlotte remaining, Southern Miss’ chances of claiming the eighth seed of the standings are well in reach. Western Kentucky mirrors Southern Miss, sitting at the fourth seed in the eastern division of the conference with an 8 – 10 conference record, and Charlotte sits in fifth with an 6 – 9 conference record.
The Lady Eagles hold an 11 – 8 away record heading into Western Kentucky, with four wins against conference opponents. Statistically, WKU is a team that sits in the bottom half of all C-USA rankings except for home runs and doubles. WKU also leads as the conference leader in strikeouts, which bodes well for Southern Miss who has the talent to limit the Hilltoppers’ with either Samantha Robles or Kim Crowson.
Both pitchers rank in the Top 20 in C-USA. On the mound, it will be key to limiting the big play chances for WKU.
As a positive, Charlotte’s series will be at USM. Southern Miss holds an 11 – 13 record at home but Charlotte is a team that struggles towinontheroadwitha 4-10 away record. Charlotte is a team that stays pretty consistent in the C-USA rankings, coming in usually around six or eighth in each statistic. Holding a record of 24 – 19, Charlotte will be no joy ride for Southern Miss but the key to winning this series will be the consistency of Southern Miss’ pitching and Southern Miss capitalizing with runners on base.
Every team in this situation needs these series wins, but USM is not far off from capturing the eighth seed for tournament play. Preparation will be limited to merely film and stats before the first meeting between Southern Miss and each of these teams, shrouding the series’ in mystery.
Southern Miss will continue their path to the tournament Wednesday against Alabama. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.