April 17, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss softball team picked up its first Conference USA sweep Sunday when the Golden Eagles defeated UTEP 8-0 at the USM Softball Complex.
Freshman Brittany Lilly went 2-for-2 while junior Chanell Thurman had a 2-for-3 performance including a two-run home run and sophomore pitcher Beth Dietrich tossed a four-hit shutout for the Eagles in six innings.
Southern Miss (15-27, 3-12) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Leslie LeJune drew a leadoff walk and scored when Jill Mathis homered for the first time since Feb. 26 with a two-run dinger over left center.
The Golden Eagles tacked on two more runs in the fourth as Thurman singled and scored on Alexis Hurley's second double. Pinch runner Kacie Eich crossed the plate when Lilly singled through the infield to make it a 4-0 game.
Thurman's two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth increased Southern Miss' lead to 6-0. Britney Dinelt reached base after being hit by a pitch to set up Thurman's shot over leftfield for her second homer of the year.
The Golden Eagles added their final runs in the home half of the sixth when Lilly was hit by a pitch and moved to second on LeJune's single into left and scored when Taylor Brown doubled to left center with LeJune advancing to third. LeJune scored the final run on a wild pitch to end the game.
UTEP's starter Joanna Krienitz (2-5) took the loss, allowing six earned runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. Lauran Ramos and Kia Moore combined for all four hits as the Miners 916-29, 1-14) stranded six runners on the day.
Southern Miss is back in action on Wednesday against Alcorn State for the official dedication of the softball stadium at 4 p.m., with first pitch set for 5 p.m.