Southern Miss Softball continues hot streak with sweep against UTEP

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The Southern Miss softball team completed the weekend sweep of the UTEP Miners to extend their winning streak to four straight with only one loss in their last nine games.

The Golden Eagles also celebrated Morgan Leinstock’s first collegiate no-hitter over the weekend, while Head coach Brian Levin won his 400th NCAA softball game.

Game One:

Southern Miss dominated the first game of the series with an 8-0 victory in just 5 innings. 

Leinstock led the way in her no-hitter with five strikeouts to record Southern Miss’ first no-hitter since Feb. 12, 2020. 

Leinstock now has 19 complete games on the season with a 16-6 record to show for it.

“I feel amazing, this is the very first no-hitter of my softball career,” Leinstock said. “It feels great to have gotten it like this when Coach Levin got his 400th win and to show the fans that we can do this.”

Leinstock recorded her first career no-hitter in the first game against UTEP. (Photo Courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics)

Southern Miss’  offense showed up early as well with a four-run first inning from RBI scores by Tata Davis and Hannah Borden with Borden scoring on an error. 

Destini Brown hit an RBI single in the second inning to score Natalie Taylor and give Southern Miss a 5-0 lead. 

The Golden Eagles added three more runs in the third inning to advance their lead to 8-0 that they held into the fifth inning when they called the game.

Head Coach Brian Levin was happy about his accomplishment but knows what this award means to everyone involved.

“I look at the 400 wins as something that the players accomplish,” Levin said. “It’s all of them. They execute when they have to, and it was even more special for Morgan to go out and throw a no-hitter like she did. It was a fun night.”

Game Two:

The second game of the series was much more competitive but Southern Miss again came out on top with a 5-3 victory.

Leinstock also pitched another complete game on Friday as she struck out three batters while allowing only four hits.

The Golden Eagles started the day hot offensively when Borden hit a two-run home run to left field to give them an early 2-0 lead.

Borden is tied for the second-most home runs on Southern Miss this season with six. (Photo Courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics)

UTEP responded in the next inning when Anna Sample hit a solo home run to center field to close the gap.

The Miners continued their offensive flurry in the third inning when Pate Cathey hit a two-run home run to capture a 3-2 lead.

Southern Miss did not wait long as Maria Smith launched a three-run home run to left field to help the Golden Eagles snatch the lead back and the victory.

This was shortstop Maria Smith’s sixth home run of the season.

“My mentality when I’m at the plate is that it’s me against all nine, and I’m not losing,” Smith said. “I’m doing it to put my teammates in a position to be successful and pass some energy to whoever I can to help us win.”

Game Three:

The Golden Eagles closed out the series against the UTEP Miners on their senior day with another great game that was elevated by hot hitting. 

Southern Miss catcher Alexis Dittmer broke the seal for the offense with a three-run home run to left field to score Natalie Hurdle and Jana Lee.

Dittmer hits a three-run shot in the final game against the Miners. (Photo Courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics)

UTEP then put the Golden Eagles on the ropes in the fourth and fifth innings where they scored two-base hit RBIs to tighten the game at 3-2.

Southern Miss responded immediately as Smith scored on a fielding error by the second baseman.

The Golden Eagles scored on another error in the fifth inning when Scout Jennings grounded out, and the throwing error left home plate open for Davis to give the Golden Eagles the 5-2 victory.

Levin said that he has been very impressed with the development of Paige Kilgore, who started this game for the Golden Eagles on the mound.

“I just think she has learned from earlier in the year to get ahead of hitter… she’s learning the game, she’s a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year here in Mississippi,”  Levin said. “You got to learn to pitch… it’s not just to go out there and throw it and that’s what she’s learning and if she continues to do that, she’s going to be really something.” 

Southern Miss’ series sweep against the UTEP Miners pushes their regular season record to 26-16 with a 6-9 conference record. 

The Golden Eagles now prepare to hit the road in a three-game Conference USA series against the UTSA Roadrunners starting on Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24.