Two Comebacks Not Enough
April 13, 2008
For Immediate Release
Southern Miss (22-21, 6-9) 300 010 3 - 7 7 2 Memphis (22-21, 4-10) 120 002 0 - 5 9 4 WP: Davis (12-7) LP: Bossom (9-10) HR: (MEM) Dolfo (10), McKinley (2) 2B: (MEM) Kelso (9), McKinley (1) (USM) Hill (6), Pilgrim 2 (9), Bullard (6)
MEMPHIS - University of Memphis third baseman Maddie McKinley has grown accustomed to battling back. In the second practice of the fall, the freshman broke her ankle on a sliding drill and did not return until January, just before the start of the 2008 season.
"We've kind of felt that we've always been trying to get her back," said Memphis head coach Windy Thees. "She's like a first semester freshman; even worse than a freshman."
A starter at third in 14 of the last 15 games, McKinley broke out this weekend with five hits, five RBI and two runs scored in a three-game series with Southern Miss. In the series finale, on Sunday at the Tiger Softball Complex, McKinley helped the Tigers battle back twice before giving up a seventh inning lead and falling 7-5.
McKinley went 2-for-3 in the game with four RBI. Her two run double in the second inning knotted the game at three after the Tigers had given up three runs to the Golden Eagles to start the game.
After Southern Miss went ahead 4-3 in the fifth, the Chickamauga, Ga., native lined a shot over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning to score two runs and give Memphis its first lead in the game. Needing three outs for the come from behind victory, the Golden Eagles scored three runs in the seventh on two hits and an error to steal the win from the Tigers.
"She's definitely our player of the weekend," Thees said. "She did a great job. She put us back on top there at the end and gave us a chance to win. We didn't finish in the field, but she gave us a chance offensively."
Freshman Rayna McClinton (4-3) started the game for the Tigers but struggled early, giving up three runs on one hit to open the first frame. Freshman Janelle Valle (9-6) took over in the second inning, entering the game after throwing a four-hit shutout the previous day.
Unlike the previous day, Valle was not nearly as unhittable and allowed five hits in five innings and allowed two runs. But Memphis managed to get out of trouble with a couple line drive double plays late in the game to keep the contest close.
After giving up a leadoff double to Megan Hill, Kimber Bossom (9-10) replaced Valle for the save opportunity. But Kristin Pilgrim followed with her second double in the game to tie the game at five and then an RBI fielder's choice by Jennifer Fox and an error gave Southern Miss its final two runs.
Led by a 3-for-3 performance from a sizzling Tori Gross, the Tigers out-hit the Golden Eagles in the game 9-7. Memphis had four errors in the game, the most since making six against South Florida to being the year in early February. The errors led to three unearned runs.
"When you score five runs you should win, especially in the game of softball," Thees said. "For us, it was defensive lapses throughout the game. The play at the end was a bad one, but we made so many bad plays throughout the game to keep us in the spot where we just had to keep fighting.
"There are things throughout our play that we've been struggling with really all year long. But they kept in it. For a young team, we got down early and we could have lain down, but they didn't. They fought back, so in that sense I'm proud of them. We've got to clean it up."
Memphis will next host a midweek doubleheader with Alcorn State at the Tiger Softball Complex on Tuesday at 2 and 4 p.m.