Southern Miss softball opens season 3-1By ANDREW ABADIE,
The Southern Miss softball team closed out opening weekend at the Black and Gold Invite with a 3-1 start to the season.
The Golden Eagles defeated St. Louis on Friday and then followed with a win over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday in which both teams were run-ruled by Southern Miss. From there, Southern Miss closed out the weekend with a Sunday doubleheader against each team as the designated road team.
For Southern Miss, the plan for the season was to have success by swinging the bat. By the end of opening weekend, the Golden Eagles finished with .323 batting average, 10 doubles, five triples and two home runs.
However, the Golden Eagles had a rough start on its Sunday doubleheader after Saint Louis had a walk-off comeback 5-4 win over Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 4-1 lead by the fifth inning. In spite of success hitting the ball successfully, Southern Miss' only true flaw of the weekend were errors.
In the final inning, an error by third baseman Alyssa Davis missed a ground ball that allowed St. Louis to tie the game and eventually follow with the walk-off win.
"I think we came out really flat," Southern Miss head coach Brian Levin said. "It really didn't have to do with the end of the game, but it was the entire game. We were a little bit flat at the end. I talked to them about that. It's something you can just flip the switch. You have to be ready to go immediately. You have to take your hat off to St. Louis for battling back and doing what they did."
Errors were the main flaw for Southern Miss as the team finished with five by the end of the weekend.
"There's a lot of things we have to work on," Levin said. "A lot of team defense issues. Sometimes there weren't people in the right spot and sometimes our fly ball communication didn't look good. We hit pretty good. I think we can hit way better than that. We are a good hitting team. All through the lineup, we have power hitters."
Despite the loss, Levin admitted that losing a game could rather benefit his team.
"Sometimes you need a wakeup call," Levin said. "You have two shorten games in the beginning and then you have to come back and play a game that's a little bit more of a high stakes type of game. To be on the bad end of it may have done more good than bad."
Following the St. Louis loss, Southern Miss for the second time on the weekend run-ruled MVSU, 13-1 as the Golden Eagles scored in every inning of the five-inning game.
MVSU pitching mistakes allowed for the Golden Eagles to take a 2-0 lead by the end of the second inning. Amber Pack then added an RBI double, which followed with another MVSU wild pitch to extend the lead 4-0.
After another two-run frame, the Golden Eagles tacked on seven runs in the fifth inning.
"I knew we were going to swing the bats," Pack said. "That wasn't a doubt in my mind. I knew we were going to be a great hitting team this year. It's just a great thing to see it all come together on the field."
Pack finished the MVSU game 2-for-3 with two RBI.
"We have so much excitement," Pack added. "I feel like it's fun to watch us play. It's fun for me to watch us play. Every girl that goes up there with a bat you never know when someone could hit it out. I feel like we have a great deal of excitement with this team."
Offensively the Golden Eagles were led by Madison Rayner, who finished the weekend hitting .778 while hitting four triples.
"She does exactly what she does in practice," Levin said. "That's just her. She a hard worker. She's just reaping awards from things that she has done in the past from the hard work she has put in."
Southern Miss will host Southern on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"Our overall energy and enthusiasm that was really high and we came out ready to play," Levin said. We had a lot of quality at-bats. I think there were sometimes where we got really anxious. I think there is always room for improvement."
Photo by: Bethany Morris