Southern Miss traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, falling 12-1 in five innings to the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide Wednesday night at Rhoads Stadium.
Katie Cleary led off the game for the Lady Eagles with a single to right center field. Samantha Reynolds then sacrifice bunted for an out at first base, but advanced Cleary to second.
Sarah Evans reached first on a fielding error by Alabama’s first baseman Jadyn Spencer. USM threatened to score early with runners on the corners, but two fly outs for the Lady Eagles ended the inning.
Crimson Tide’s Chandler Dare singled to shortstop in the first inning for Alabama’s first hit of the game. Haylie McCleney walked and Dare advanced to third base on a wild pitch from Shelbee Rodgers.
McCleney stole second base and as the ball was mishandled by the shortstop, Dare crossed home plate giving the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead. Danae Hays drilled a single to right field scoring another Alabama run.
Marisa Runyon followed with an RBI single to the right side, increasing Alabama’s lead to 3-0.
Michelle Stringer gave the USM offense a spark in the top of the second inning, crushing a solo home run over the left field fence. Stringer’s second homerun of her career cut the deficit to 3-1.
In the bottom of the third, McCleney led off with an infield single. Runyon followed with a double to center field for her second RBI of the night, increasing the Crimson Tide lead to 4-1.
Alabama’s offense exploded for eight runs on five hits in the fourth inning. Two errors by USM were costly in keeping the inning alive for Alabama.
Demi Turner smacked a two-RBI triple to right center field. Dare followed with an RBI single, increasing the Crimson Tide lead to 6-1. McCleney then walked forcing USM to bring in Danielle Block from the bullpen to relieve Rodgers on the mound.
Hays then hit a single, sending two Alabama runs across home plate. The Lady Eagles were unable to slow down the Crimson Tide’s hot offense.
With runners on first and second, Chaunsey Bell stroked a three-run homer to left center field, adding to the Alabama lead, 12-1. Block was able to force a couple fly outs and one strikeout to end the rough inning for the Lady Eagles.
Southern Miss had to score three runs in the top of the fifth inning to avoid the run-rule, but came up empty handed as Selena Estrada struck out and Morgan McKeever and Reynolds grounded out to end the game.
Rodgers took the loss for the USM pitching staff, giving up nine hits and nine runs.
The Southern Miss offense could not keep pace with the Crimson Tide as USM had four hits compared to Alabama’s twelve.
The Lady Eagles return to action Tuesday April 7, hosting a double header against Troy at 4 and 6 p.m.