|Chris Whitehead, Assistant Director of Media Relations
Hattiesburg, Miss. - The Southern Miss softball team led 5-2 heading into the fifth inning over ULM before erupting for five runs to post a 10-2 run-rule victory on Wednesday night at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles tallied 11 hits in the win. On the season, the Black and Gold improve to 9-0 when notching double-digit hits in a game. With the win, Southern Miss has now won four consecutive games in a row at home and six of their last eight in Hattiesburg during the month of April.
The team was led by Lauren Holifield, who finished the game 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, two runs scored and three RBI. It is the most hits for the transfer in a game since posting a four-hit performance against Ball State on Feb. 13. The home run for Holifield was her ninth of the season. She is homer shy of recording the 11th double-digit home run performance in a season by a player and becoming the first player since Jill Mathis (2011) with double-digit homers in year.
Holifield was joined by Morgan McKeever, Sarah Evans, and Katie Cleary who all posted multi-hit performances on the night. Evans belted her third home run of the season, while Cleary legged out her 11th double of the year.
Holifield and Evans each scored a pair of runs apiece to lead the team, while Holifield finished just ahead of Evans in the RBI category with three.
In the circle, Samantha Robles picked up her 15th win of the season with the complete-game effort. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and a strikeout. With 15 wins, Robles is now tied for sixth in a single season for most Ws in a year, most recently accomplished by Shelbee Rodgers in 2014. In her career, Robles now has 26 victories, one back of Beth Dietrich for 10th on the Southern Miss Career List.
Southern Miss wasted little time scoring in the bottom of the first. Holifield lifted the first pitch she saw over the scoreboard in left center field to put the home team in front 1-0.
ULM knotted the score in the top of the second inning. The Warhawks’ Amye Barre hit a solo home run to left field to tie the game at 1-1.
The Golden Eagles responded with four runs in the bottom of the third. Samantha Reynolds led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. Holifield followed with a double to left center field. With runners on second and third, Tori Dew flew out to right center field to score Reynolds on the sacrifice fly. McKeever drove in Holifield with a single to right center field. Evans cleared the bases with one swing with a two-run homer to center field.
The Warhawks used a leadoff homer to left field by Melanie Coyne to trim the margin to 5-2.
Southern Miss ended the game fifth inning with five runs to provide eight-run lead needed for a run-rule victory. With one out, McKeever singled just over the pitching circle. Sydney Pollock entered to run at first base. Evans followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Cleary singled to left center field to load the bases. Arielle Pollock entered the game to run at first base. Robles was hit by a pitch to drive home S. Pollock for the first run of the game. Flex player Rachel Johnson went to first base to run for Robles and Michelle Stringer stepped into the batter’s box to pinch hit. Stringer worked the count full before earning a RBI walk. Kaelyn Christofferson re-entered the game to run at first base, while Jordan Beck grabbed a bat as a pinch hitter. After a pitching change, Beck was hit by a pitch to drive in A. Pollock and push the lead to 8-2. After Reynolds re-entered to run at first base, Holifield doubled down the left field line. R. Johnson and Christofferson scampered home to give the Golden Eagles the walk-off rule-rule victory.
Southern Miss returns to action this weekend as the Golden Eagles travel to Ruston, La. for a three-game Conference USA series with Louisiana Tech. Live stats and in-game tweets (@SouthernMissSB) will be available throughout the weekend.