Southern Miss Softball Report - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Southern Miss Softball Report

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Golden Eagles Fall in Regular Season Finale at No. 24 Tulsa

Southern Miss enters next week's Conference USA Championship event as the No. 8 seed.

Southern Miss scored a solo run in the sixth on a Danielle LaPointe grounder but could not rally as No. 24 Tulsa completed the series sweep over Southern Miss on Sunday.

 

The Golden Eagles, who were one-hit by Tulsa's Aimee Creger yesterday, got on the Hurricane starter early as freshman Sarah Evans worked the count in the first to the tune of a lead-off single. After a fielder's choice erased her a second, two passed balls put Morgan McKeever at third but the Eagles could not bring her across the dish.

 

After working around two singles in the first, Tulsa did not let the opportunity slip by again in the second as Cierra Hughes reached on a fielder's choice before a walk and single up the middle from Caitlin Everett brought her in.

 

In the third, Jenifer Gary got a single into left field and Kimberly Wagner – also doubling as the Southern Miss starter for the day – put the third single on the board but both runners never advanced off the bag.

 

Tulsa pushed their lead to 3-0 in the fifth as Jill Barrett laced her third single of the day and came across on a Julie Kernen double down the left field line. After a walk loaded the bases, Wagner induced a fielder's choice groundout to the plate for the second out of the inning but a single from Shelby Blanton added another run.

 

Southern Miss got something cooking in the sixth inning as McKeever and Mackenzie Sher laced consecutive one-out singles and a wild pitch advanced them a base each. In the next at-bat, a slow roller to the shortstop Samantha Cobb lived just long enough to allow McKeever come across to break the shutout and get the Eagles on the board, 3-1.

 

It was the first run Creger had surrendered in her previous 21 innings.

 

The Golden Eagles got to the top end of the seventh within two, but Creger set the Eagles down in order to wrap up the game.

 

Wagner (6-9) suffered the loss on a well-pitched ball game, scattering nine hits and just three runs while walking a pair. Creger (24-5) earned the complete game win, giving up five hits and one run while walking one and striking out five.

 

Southern Miss will enter next week's C-USA Championship Tournament, also held here in Tulsa, as the No. 8 seed where they will face regular season champion UAB. The Blazers swept Southern Miss in the regular season series in Birmingham. Game time for that matchup, which will be on Thursday, May 9, has not yet been set by the conference office.

 

To get the most up-to-date information on Southern Miss Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @USMSoftball, get live stats via the Gametracker platform from SouthernMiss.com, or like Southern Miss Softball on Facebook.

No. 24 Tulsa Sweeps Southern Miss on Saturday

 

In chilly and windy Oklahoma conditions, No. 24 Tulsa took a pair of games from Southern Miss on Saturday in the final regular season series of the year at the Collins Family Softball Complex.

 

Aimee Creger struck out 13 and Tulsa (40-13-1, 18-5 C-USA) scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings to defeat Southern Miss 8-0 in the series opener. Freshman Sarah Evans continued her hot-hitting streak for the Golden Eagles (14-39, 4-17 C-USA) and got her third double in the last four at bats, but the team went hitless the rest of the way.

 

The loss snapped a three-game C-USA winning streak for the Golden Eagles, their longest as a program since 2011 when the team swept UTEP. It was the first time the team had won three games over two C-USA series matchups since 2010.

 

The Golden Eagles opened up the nightcap with a solo homer from Mackenzie Sher in the first inning, but Tulsa rallied with three runs in the second and six runs in the fourth to pull away 9-1. However, the Golden Eagles rallied back to make it 9-4 in the fourth but couldn't managed to close the gap any further.

 

Southern Miss is back on the diamond tomorrow for the final game of the series with a Noon first pitch.

 

To get the most up-to-date information on Southern Miss Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @USMSoftball, get live stats via the Gametracker platform from SouthernMiss.com, or like Southern Miss Softball on Facebook.

 

Game 1:

 

After going scoreless through the first inning, Tulsa took advantage of two walks and a fielder's choice in the second to put runners on the corners for Cierra Hughes. A ground out from Hughes to the shortstop Morgan McKeever put the Golden Hurricane on the board before a solo homer from Julie Kernen in the third made it 2-0.

 

Southern Miss broke Tulsa starter Aimee Creger's hitless bid in their side of the third as freshman Sarah Evans, who reached on two of her three at-bats for the  day, got her third double in her last four at bats but was stranded in the inning.

 

Tulsa built their lead by way of a three-hit, three-run fourth inning including a two-out, two RBI triple from Caitlin Everett to make it 5-0.

 

The Golden Hurricane created a run-rule situation in the fifth as Kernen belted her second homer of the game before three singles and a double made it 8-0.

 

Creger ended the game retiring nine of the final 10 batters by way of strikeout and ended the game with 13 total. In the process, she bested her own single-season school-record mark for strikeouts and finished the opener with 262 on the year.

 

Kaitlin Wilson (4-12) suffered the loss on 4.2 innings of work, surrendering 11 hits and four walks while striking out one. Creger (23-5) allowed just one hit in the shutout and walked a pair of Golden Eagles.

 

Game 2:

 

Southern Miss got the scoring going in the nightcap as Mackenzie Sher squared up Lacey Middlebrooks two-out offering and lined it over the left field fence for her ninth homer of the year.

 

Tulsa responded in the second with a homer of their own, this one a two-run shot from Cassidy Bowen. The two-out roundtripper was a liner into left field after Shelby Blanton reached one batter earlier on a fielder's choice. Everett reached via a walk on the next at bat before stealing second and coming in on a Jill Barrett infield single to make it 3-1.

 

After a scoreless third, the Hurricane exploded for six runs in the fourth highlighted by a two-out two-run double from Catherine Horner to make it 9-1.

 

With just three outs remaining before another run-rule situation, the Golden Eagles rallied for a three-run fifth to continue the game at 9-4. Evans began the inning with a lead-off walk and advanced on a McKeever fielder's choice. With two on, Sher picked up her second RBI of the game on a double to the right center gap put runners at second and third.

 

After Tulsa elected to pull starter Lacey Middlebrooks in favor of freshman Caitlin Sill, Sill's first pitch was in the dirt to allow for a runner to score on the wild pitch to make it 9-3 before a Taylor Beck ground out plated the third and final run of the inning.

 

Southern Miss managed a single the rest of the way but Tulsa was able to hold on to get Sill her second save of the year.

 

Kimberly Wagner (6-8) suffered the loss while Middlebrooks moved to 13-4 on the year.

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