GULFPORT--Southern Miss overcame a three-run deficit to beat Southeastern Louisiana 9-8 in eight innings at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic on Friday at the Gulfport Sportsplex.
The Lady Eagles scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning. That was enough, as Samantha Robles struck out two batters in the bottom of the eighth and held off the Lady Lions.
The Lady Eagles led 3-2 after four innings, but in the bottom of the fifth, the Lady Lions put together a four-run surge. Amber Sather hit a three-run homer over the leftfield fence, following Kinsey Nichols' RBI single.
The Lady Eagles would respond in the top of the sixth inning with Morgan McKeever's single to right field. Katie Cleary added a one-out single to right field. With two out and runners on first and second, Sarah Evans came in and slammed a three-run home run across the right field fence to tie the game at 6-6.
"I tell you what: they were both big. In their time each was the biggest hit of the game," said Lady Eagles' coach Wendy Hogue. "That three-run homer was definitely a shot in the arm. The hit batsman with two outs was big, which brought our catcher (Papp) to the plate. Good things happen when you stay in there."
Southeastern made a strong run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the designated International Tie Rule runner and Sather scored off of a Mychal Truxillo' double with no outs.
"She likes the pressure," said Hogue. "We just tried to keep her focused and get one pitch at a time. That was a new batter, and she had not seen our pitcher and our pitcher had not seen her."
McKeever and Cleary led the Lady Eagles with four hits each. Evans had three hits and five RBIs.
Day two of the Gulf Coast Classic begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.