HAMMOND, La. – Southern Miss scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning to rally past Southeastern Louisiana, 6-1, in the SLU softball team’s non-conference finale Tuesday evening at North Oak Park.
The Lady Lions fell to 26-26 overall with the loss, which snapped a four-game winning streak. Southern Miss improved to 27-26 on the season with the comeback win.
USM starter Samantha Robles (9-7) limited SLU to four hits. Junior Mahalia Gibson, freshman Mattie Ort, freshman Ali McCoy and junior Maddie Edmonston collected hits for the Lady Lions. Junior Peyton Sutton scored the lone run for the Lady Lions on a steal of home.
Southeastern freshman Alley McDonald (3-3) was masterful in the circle until the wheels came off in the final inning. Through the first six innings, the Whitehouse, Tennessee native allowed three hits and no runs.
SLU mounted the game’s first scoring threat in the bottom of the third inning. Edmonston led off the frame with a bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Kalyn Watts. Sophomore Jaquelyn Ramon hit a slow roller in front of the circle, but Robles was able to throw the speedy Edmonston out at home.
Ramon promptly stole her team-high 52nd base of the season and moved to third when Samantha Papp’s throw sailed into centerfield. However, Robles got out of the inning unscathed by retiring junior Kinsey Nichols for the final out.
The Lady Lions finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gibson reached and advanced to second on an error and was replaced on the base paths by Sutton. After Sutton advanced to third on an wild pitch, sophomore Whitney Sullivan drew a two-out walk to put runners at the corners.
Sullivan was replaced at first by junior Carlie Whittington. On Robles’ first pitch, Whittington broke for second and drew a throw from Papp. While USM was trying unsuccessfully to catch Whittington in a run down, Sutton raced home to give SLU a 1-0 lead.
Southern Miss was poised to get on the board in the top of the fifth inning, as Papp and Heather Hill reached to put a pair of runners on with no outs. McDonald recovered, retiring Rachel Johnson, Samantha Reynolds and Chase Nelson to maintain the 1-0 lead.
Southeastern was set up to add some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Gibson reached on a fielder’s choice and Ort singled to put two on with one out. McCoy then lined a single just out of the reach of Johnson in centerfield. However, Johnson recovered and threw out Gibson trying to score from second. Ort tried to take an extra base on the throw home and was gunned by Papp at third to end the inning.
Southern Miss exploded in its final at-bat, sending 11 to the plate to take a commanding lead. Jade Lewis singled home the tying run, then Beth Taylor drew a bases loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run. Later in the frame, Lauren Holifield doubled home two more runs, then Tori Dew singled home two more runs to give USM a 6-1 advantage. Robles sat down the Lady Lions in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to close out the win.
Southeastern will close out the regular season this weekend, hosting McNeese for a three-game Southland series at North Oak Park. On Friday, the series opens with a 5 p.m. contest and wraps up with a 12 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, SLU will honor seniors Nielson and Mychal Truxillo for Senior Day. LionVision subscribers will be able to access a live video stream (no audio) at www.LionSports.net/watch.
USM – 000 000 6 – 6 8 3 (27-26)
SLU – 000 100 0 – 1 4 0 (26-26)
Samantha Robles and Samantha Papp. Alley McDonald, Ali McCoy (7), Tanner Wright (7), Kasey Nielson (7) and Whitney Sullivan. W – Robles (9-7). L – McDonald (3-3). 2B – USM: Lauren Holifield 2 (7). T – 2:05. A – 255.