THIBODAUX â€“ After having its first weekend off of the 2011 season, the Nicholls State University softball team returns to action on Wednesday night when the University of Southern Miss comes to the Colonel Softball Complex for a non-conference matchup at 6 p.m.
Nicholls (9-24) will be trying to split the season series against USM (11-27) as the Golden Eagles took the earlier contest this season, 9-1, at the Southern Miss Invitational.
Following the Colonelsâ€™ extra-innings victory over Louisiana-Monroe, Nichollsâ€™ run production has fell off as the Colonels dropped their last four outings, being outscored 23-3. However, junior Megan Gaspard has pieced together a team season-best seven-game hitting streak to raise her average to .304. Fellow junior Ashley Ray is next with a .302 average and is third in the Southland Conference with eight home runs.
Sophomore Ashton Bennett has accounted for over half of the Colonelsâ€™ wins this season, recording five victories while posting a 2.98 ERA. Senior Carlee Winklemann and freshman Katie Moulder have recorded two wins each on the year.
Southern Miss heads into the matchup with a three-game losing streak after being swept at Tulsa in Conference USA action. The Golden Eaglesâ€™ last win came in a 14-4 rout over in-state rival Mississippi State on April 6. USM is currently 0-10 on the road this season.
Brittany Lilly and Britney Dinelt head the Golden Eagle lineup, hitting .278 and .276, respectively. The duo has combined for 33 RBIs and five home runs while Jill Mathis leads the team with six dingers.
Much like the Colonel pitching staff, USMâ€™s Beth Dietrich has tallied six of its 11 victories. She has 11 complete games which includes a pair of shutouts.
First pitch at the Colonel Softball Complex is scheduled for 6 p.m. Live stats and live audio will be available courtesy of geauxcolonels.com and ThibodauxOnline.com.
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