HATTIESBURG, MS (WLBT) - After starting the 2019 season off 2-0 in day one of the Black and Gold Invitational, the Golden Eagles continued their dominance in day two by picking up two more wins. Southern Miss defeated Tennessee Tech 8-6 in their first game of the day and then took down Houston Baptist 9-1 in the final game of the day.
Junior pitcher Abby Trahan who earned the first start of her Southern Miss career in the season opener on Friday, got the nod again for the Golden Eagles against Tennessee Tech.
Trahan showed good stuff again as she tossed another complete game and picked up her second win of the season. The right-hander scattered seven hits in the contest, allowed six runs (two earned), issued one walk and struck out six.
Trahan was backed by yet another impressive performance from the Southern Miss batting order. Southern Miss posted a team batting average of .304 (7-for-23) against Tennessee Tech.
Freshman outfielder Madison Rayner made a major splash after blasting a solo home run deep over the right field wall in the bottom of the third inning for the first hit of her Southern Miss career.
The Stringer, Miss. native followed her home run by lacing a sharp single that allowed three runs to cross the plate (two RBI), extending Southern Miss’ lead 7-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Madison Rayner on recording her first collegiate hit and Southern Miss’ overall performance
“The feeling of hitting that home run was unreal, I was literally in tears running around the bases because I was so happy. Tonight out pitchers were dominating and our offense was unstoppable. I love this team. It’s going to be a fun year.”
The Golden Eagles held on to take the game by a final score of 8-6.
Southern Miss’ second game of the night was much like their first three of the tournament, a combination of high powered offense and dominate pitching.
Freshman pitcher Kaylan Ladner earned the first start of her Southern Miss career against Houston Baptist in the nightcap, and it was a memorable one.
The Kiln, Miss. native opened the game by retiring the first three Huskies’ batters that she faced, notching a 1-2-3 inning. Just like she did at Hancock High School as a senior just one year ago, Ladner showed great command and presence in the circle and did not allow a single hit until the top of the fifth inning.
The young right-hander tossed a complete game (5.0 innings) allowed two hits, one run (earned), did not issue any walks and struck out three and was credited with the win.
Kaylan Ladner on earning her first collegiate start, win and Southern Miss’ success
“My first collegiate start was a complete breakthrough in my softball career. There is so much hard work done behind the scenes and seeing it payoff is a blessing. This team is so much fun and full of high energy. The confidence instilled from defense to offense is truly unstoppable and we showed that today by putting so many runs on the board and keeping errors to a minimum. We truly celebrate each other and our small victories and that’s what makes us different.”
On the offensive side, the Golden Eagles posted a team batting average of .381. Junior shortstop Lacey Sumerlin led the way by going 2-for-3 at the plate with one run scored and three RBI.
Rayner continued to swing a hot bat for the Golden Eagles as she belted a two-run walk-off double to end the game via the run rule, giving the Golden Eagles a 9-1 victory.
Southern Miss will play their final game of the Black and Gold Invitational at 3:00 p.m. (CT) on Sunday, February 10 against Jackson State University.