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Southern Miss softball sweeps UTEP

Published: Apr. 16, 2022 at 11:13 PM CDT
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Southern Miss Sports Information

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Southern Miss softball team secured its first Conference USA series sweep since 2019 with Saturday’s 5-2 victory over UTEP. The Golden Eagles received a five-inning performance from Paige Kilgore, and a three-run shot from freshman Alexis Dittmer aided Southern Miss to an important conference win.

The Golden Eagles (26-16, 6-9 C-USA) outhit the Miners, 6-4 in the final contest of the series. Five different Southern Miss players recorded hits. Dittmer recorded her first home run since Feb. 11, while Kilgore notched the third win in the circle of her career.

”It was huge, we had to have a sweep coming into these last four series,” head coach Brian Levin said. “I’m really proud of Paige, we gave her the call and she answered it for us and Alexis came through when she had to. We came out with this win, and that’s what matters.”

Kilgore stymied UTEP in the early stages of the contest, as the Houston, Miss. native struck out three batters through two frames. Southern Miss repaid the efforts of its pitcher in the bottom of the second, as the Golden Eagles put two runners on base with two outs on the board.

Dittmer recorded her third home run of the season and first since opening day, as a three-run shot over the left field fence brought Jana Lee and Natalie Hurdle home. The Golden Eagles took a 3-0 lead into the third inning.

”I was trying to be consistent this game with hard hits into the gaps,” Dittmer said. “I felt pure excitement when I saw that it went out, and it was just a lot of fun to celebrate with my teammates. It was awesome.”

UTEP recorded its first hit of the game in the top of the third, but Southern Miss held the Miners off the board following a trio of flyouts. The Golden Eagles left a runner on base and finished the third with a hit and left a runner on base.

The Miners picked up its first run of the day, as an RBI single cut Southern Miss’ lead to two. The Black & Gold got out of the innings after a scoreless second half of the fourth, the Golden Eagles led 3-1.

The Golden Eagles conceded another run in the top of the fifth as a bunt down the right line from UTEP cut the Southern Miss lead to one. The Black & Gold extended its lead in the bottom of the fifth, as Maria Smith and Davis reached home to give the Golden Eagles a 5-2 advantage.

Morgan Leinstock took over for Kilgore in the top of the sixth and held the Miners off the board. Southern Miss was unable to tack on insurance runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Golden Eagles shut out UTEP in the top of the seventh to complete the sweep.

Tata Davis recorded a run and a pair of hits, as she and fellow graduate Destini Brown were honored prior to the contest for their Senior Day. Levin spoke highly of his two seniors following the victory.

”They are better people than they are softball players,” Levin said. “Their decision to come back for their final year was huge for the program. The culture they have helped to develop this season will last for years. Every day with them is a blessing.”

The Golden Eagles improve to 29-19-1 against UTEP in the all-time series and clinched their first series sweep at the Southern Miss Softball Complex since April 6-7, 2019.

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