Back to square one


USM coach Wendy Hogue and designated hitter Jade Lewis celebrate after Lewis’ home run against Mississippi State on Mar. 28 at the USM Softball Complex.

The USM softball team is back at .500, but coach Wendy Hogue believes that she has a road map to get her team back on the winning track. 

“I just think 16-16 is better than 0-32,” Hogue said. “This is another game that we lost, we didn’t get beat. We haven’t been beat often this year. The talent that we have, we shouldn’t ‘lose’ ballgames.”

Against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday night, a club that now holds a 25-9 record, the Lady Eagle softball team held a comfortable 2-0 lead through the sixth inning, asserting their dominance early. Then, the MSU offense lit up.

“[Kim Crowson] was cruising along in complete control, handling the top of that lineup, which doesn’t get handled much at all,” Hogue said.

Mississippi State’s Amanda Ivy was walked with bases loaded, bringing MSU closer at 2-1. Then, Crowson, who threw a near-complete game giving up only four hits and walking five batters, was replaced for Samantha Robles who then proceeded to give up a double to plate two more runs for Mississippi State, leading to the win.

“The [three-run] inning will get you down,” Hogue said. “I feel like we shot ourselves in the foot there.”

Now back at .500 with a 16-16 record, Hogue knows that she has to start back at square one.

“Learn from the negatives,” Hogue said. “It hurts me as much as it hurts anybody. We can’t let it affect the rest of the season.”

After winning back-to-back away games at Texas-El Paso, the Lady Eagles came back home to make a hopeful statement against Mississippi State, in which they fell just short. But, the road ahead is one that Hogue believes that she sees is a learning lesson.

“Once that pressure switched, we’ve got to be bigger in those pressure situations,” Hogue said. “If [we] walk away with our hands down right now, then not only will they get the win tonight, they’ll get the win tomorrow…. And when Mississippi State isn’t around, they’ll still be beating us.”

With only 21 games left in the season, the Lady Eagles have the ability to build enough momentum to place themselves in prime position for good seeding in the C-USA tournament.

Southern Miss will travel to Jackson State on Wednesday to face the Tigers. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.