The Jaguars and the Golden Eagles took 17 innings to decide a winner, unfortunately it was Austin Roussel’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 17th inning that gave Southern Miss the 7-6 win over USA.
USM’s Breck Kline got on base one a one-out walk from Jaguar pitcher Justin Flores. He would advance to third base on a single to center field by Tim Lynch. Then Roussel chopped a 1-2 pitch towards first base and was just out of Flores’ reach to allow Kline to score the game-winning run.
Trailing 5-4 in the top of the eighth inning, the Jaguars went to work. Consecutive singles by Cole Gleason and Adam Ballew led off the inning. A sacrifice bunt from Jared Barnes advanced both runners into scoring position with one out. Then Garrett DeGallier would reach base on a fielder’s choice to second, which the USM second baseman threw wide of home plate which allowed both Gleason and Ballew to score giving USA a 6-5 lead.
But that lead was short lived as the Golden Eagles would tie it up and eventually send it to extra innings in the bottom half of the inning.
Bud Collura went 3-for-6 with a triple, two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base to lead USA at the plate.
South Alabama will travel to Stateboro, GA for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series with Georgia Southern this weekend.
Right-hander Kevin Hill has earned three weekly awards this week after he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning in a one-hit shutout with a career-high 15 strikeouts against league leader Georgia State.
The game was his seventh consecutive win of the season and his second complete game of the year. He also retired 16 consectutive Panther batters from the third to the eighth inning in the game.
His 15 strikeouts were the most by a Jaguar pitcher since P.J. Walters’ 15 against Georgia Southern in 2006.
On Monday, he was named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Hill is the first Jaguar to earn this distinction since Jake Overstreet did in March 2010.
On Tuesday, Hill earned two more weekly awards after he was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week.
In eight starts this season Hill has a 7-0 record with a 2.22 ERA, 66 strikeouts, 21 walks, two complete games and one shutout in 56 2/3 innings pitched. He leads the conference in strikeouts entering the week as well.
South Alabama honored student-athletes Monday at the sixth annual Pete Tolbert Night of Champions at the Mitchell Center. The event recognizes the achievements, both in competition and academically, of the nearly 400 individuals who comprise the University of South Alabama athletics program.
Kaitlyn Griffith (Softball from Centre, AL) and Daniel Leitner (Men’s Tennis from Neiderfischbach, Germany) were named the Jaguar Female and Male Student-Athlete of the Year respectively, honoring the most outstanding Jaguars based on scholarship, athletic ability and citizenship.
Griffith, a senior shortstop for the softball team is hitting .296 with a team-high 11 home runs, with 38 RBI, 25 runs scored and helping the team to a 33-9 record thus far and a top-25 national ranking throughout the 2015 season. She is a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athlete and is set to receiver her degree in May in exercise science. She has a 3.82 cumulative GPA.
Leitner, a senior, is the reigning two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in men’s tennis. He earned the award this spring after amassing a 28-5 overall record in singles play and a 22-6 record in doubles play. He was named to the first-team All-SBC in both singles and doubles, and as the highest-rated individual in the conference, will earn a berth to the NCAA Singles Championships in May. He will graduate with a 3.89 GPA in exercise science in May.
A pair of Griffith’s teammates on the Softball team also earned awards.
Farish Beard was chosen at the school’s NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee with Blair Johnson earning the Jimmy Taylor Scholarship.
Beard, who currently has a 3.39 GPA, was selected as the nominee for that goes to a varsity letterwinner completing her intercollegiate eligibility by the end of spring sports season, who has excelled in academics, athletics, service and leadership with a minimum of a cumulative 2.5 GPA. She is also a finalist for both the Senior CLASS and 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year awards. This season she is 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 71 innings.
Johnson earned the award going to a student-athlete who holds a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, has completed their NCAA eligibility and with the assistance of the fund will graduate from USA within two consecutive semesters. She has earned All-SBC honors twice during her career and this year she is batting .254 with 12 extra-base hits, 25 RBI, and 14 walks to only eight strikeouts.
Sophie Haywood from Hull, England, earned the Auralia Crowell Freshman Scholar Athlete Awards given to the most outstanding freshman based on excellence in academics and athletics. She was named First-Team All-Conference after posting 19 points on seven goals and five assists in helping the Jaguar soccer team tow in the conference title and advance to the NCAA Tournament. She has a 4.0 GPA as an exercise science major.
Adam Ballew of the baseball team was awarded the Denny-Gottfried Scholarship Award that is presented to the student-athlete who has exhausted their eligibilty, maintained an outstanding GPA and achieved athletic accomplishment. In his final season at USA, he has helped the Jaguar baseball team to a 29-16 record thus far while batting .275 with five extra-base hits, 26 RBI and eight stolen bases. He is an exercise science major with a 3.38 GPA.
Derek Westbrook from Diamondhead, MS, received a pair of awards. He arned the Shirley Holt Scholarship Award as well as the Male Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. The former is given to a student-athlete who exemplifies outstanding “Team Spirit” and who has shown great character and concern for his or her fellow student-athletes. The latter recognizes overall support of Jaguar Athletics. Both awards exemplifies Derek’s contributions to South Alabama Athletics and also marks the second-consecutive year that he has garnered the JAG Award honors.
Caroline Beebe earned the Female Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. Which marks the second consecutive year that both she has earned the JAF Award as well.
Hunter Colemani was awarded the Tom and Barbara Corcoran Scholar-Athlete Endowed Scholarship Award which is given to a USA Junior who most excels in sports while maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. The right handed pitcher has a 4.0 GPA in biomedical sciences in the classroom while on the diamond he has a 1-0 record with a 0.59 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 15.1 innings of work.
Jimmie Gipson III was awarded the Wilson Durgin Memorial Scholarship Award which goes to a minority student-athlete who has excelled in both the classroom and competition. Nikki Gittens was awarded the Female Perseverance Award after she suffered a stress fracture in her tibia that forced her to redshirt in 2013, she then returned and ranked third on the volleyball team with 243 kills and led the team with a .250 attack percentage and 83 total blocks while helping the Jags qualify for the SBC tournament despite tendinitis in her knee and hitting shoulder.
Ucambre Williams earned the Male Perseverance Award after undergoing three separate surgical procedures and requiring over six months of rehabilitation. After surgery on his right knee in September he returned in just 15 days and would go on to start 11 consecutive games while posting a team-best 90 percent overall grade and being named to the second-team All-SBC and helped the Jaguars play in its first-ever postseason bowl game.
Brandon Bridge was awarded the Mayer Mitchell Quarterback Endowment Fund Award as the Jaguars starter last fall. Matt Bolger earned the Clifton Inge Endowed Baseball Award. David Knapp earned the Forrest W. and Beverly B. Crowder Endwoed Scholarship for baseball. Mark Watts earned the McKinney Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field. Emily Newton earned the George Smith Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field as well.
Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations Greg Keel was selected for the Matt Smith Award which goes to a member of the athletics staff who consistenly goes the extra mile, has the spirit of commitment, a strong work ethic, and a deep sense of pride in their job. The award is named in memory of former USA Sports Information Director Matt Smith who passed away in December of 2004.
Each sport program also presented awards at the event. The winners of those honors were:
- Eddie Stanky Award (baseball), Bolger
- Goldie Ungar Heart of Gold Award (men’s basketball), Dionte Ferguson
- Jaguar Women’s Basketball NCAA Award (women’s basketball), Breanna Hall
- Female Distance Award (women’s cross country), Nicole Durham
- Male Distance Award (men’s cross country), Christoph Graf
- Jim Yance Heart of a Jaguar Award (football), Jesse Kelley
- Heath Slocum Award (men’s golf), Tyler Klava
- Beth Barry Award (women’s golf), Ingrid Hagen
- Lindsay Rogers Award (soccer), Alyssa Mayer
- Extra Mile Award (softball), Stephanie Pilkington
- Lubel Family Award (men’s tennis), Leitner
- Marilyn Lubel Award (women’s tennis), Laura Matuskova
- Most Outstanding Women’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (women’s track and field), Kaitlyn Beans
- Most Outstanding Men’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (men’s track and field), Jan-Louw Kotze
- Jaguar Volleyball Award (volleyball), Gittens
Prior to the naming of the Jaguar Student-Athletes of the Year, 46 current and former student-athletes who will graduate at the conclusion of the semester received gifts from the department.
Congratulations to all the award winners as well as all of the student-athletes who will earn their degrees. Thank you for representing the University in each of your respective sports with honor and character. Once a Jaguar, always a Jaguar.
Jags baseball complete a weekend sweep of first-place Georgia State while softball team split a pair of games with North Dakota State. Here’s the rundown.
The #21 ranked Jaguar softball team split a pair of games against North Dakota State over the weekend after the first of a scheduled doubleheader on Saturday was cancelled due to weather conditions.
On Friday night the Jags dropped a 7-3 decision to the Bison at Jaguar Field. In the opening inning both teams traded a pair of runs. Then the Bison pushed across a run in the top of the third inning to take a 3-2 lead over the Jaguars.
Then in the top of the fifth inning Amanda Minahan tied the game with her fifth home run of the season. But in the top sixth inning the Bison would score four runs to take control of the game.
Farish Beard suffered the loss to fall to 8-3 on the season after allowing seven runs (all earned) on six hits in five innings with eight strikeouts. Kalen McGill threw two innings of scoreless relief and only allowed on hit.
Emily Messer and Stephanie Pilkington each went 2-for-4 with Messer scoring the first run of the game and Pilkington had an RBI.
Chloe Rathburn was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
The lone game on Saturday was weather-delayed and cancelled one of the two that was scheduled for the day.
The Bison took the lead in the top of the first inning when they pushed three runs across. The Jags answered in the bottom half of the inning with two runs when Rathburn and Amanda Herron each drew bases-loaded walks.
In the bottom of the second inning the Jags tied the game at 3-each after Messer got on base with a one-out infield single followed by Kaitlyn Griffith’s RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The Bison regained the lead on a solo homer in the top of the third inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Griffith drew a one-out walk followed by Chloe Rathburn’s homer to put the Jags on top 5-4. Later in the inning Blair Johnson picked up an RBI by driving Minahan in with a single to right field to extend their lead to 6-4.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Bison tied the game up again with a two-run homer. The Jags went down in order in the bottom of the sevening sending the game to extra innings.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Jags loaded the bases when the Bison intentionally walked Messer. Haleigh Foster came in to pinch hit and ended up walking in the game-winnign run for the Jaguars.
Messer finished the game going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Johnson went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Griffith finsihed 1-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI.
Farish Beard (9-3) got the win in 5 2/3 innings of relief and allowed a pair of runs (both earned) on three hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
The Jags (33-9) will travel to Troy for the final regular season Sun Belt Conference series of the season ahead of the Sun Belt Conference Championships to be held in San Marcos, TX.
The Jaguar baseball team completed a three-game weekend sweep of Conference leading Georgia state.
After the Jaguar softball team had their 11-game win streak snapped by Southern Miss on Wednesday, they will return to Jaguar Field with the intention of starting a new streak when they host North Dakota State this weekend.
The Jags (32-8) was shut out for the first time since their March 24 loss to #1 LSU. The Eagles scored the only run of the game in the fourth inning on an RBI single to right field.
The loss also snapped Kalen McGill’s consecutive-win streak to give her only her second loss of the season for a 14-2 record. She allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out one.
Farish Beard allowed one walk in one shutout inning of relief.
The only Jaguar hits of the night were Chloe Rathburn’s double and Amanda Herron’s single. Though Emily Messer reached base on each of the Eagle’s three errors on the night.
But now they turn their focus to North Dakota State in their final home-series of the regular season. Though it’s a non-conference series, North Dakota State gives the Jaguars a great opportunity against team with an RPI of 51 after losing to the Golden Eagles who had an RPI of 221.
NDSU enters the game with a 36-8 record after splitting a doubleheader at #10 Minnesota on Wednesday. They hold a 2-2 record on the season against ranked opponents after a 6-5 win over #17 Washington back in February and a run-rule loss to #11 Tennessee on March 7.
They will open the series Friday night at 6pm and conclude the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2pm.
The Jags baseball team split a pair of games against Jacksonville State on the road to put their record at 26-16 overall and 11-7 in conference play.
This weekend they host Georgia State for a three-game series beginning at 6:30pm on Friday night at Eddie Stanky Field.
The Panthers (26-15, 13-3 SBC) enters the game as the conference leader with the best winning percentage in the conference.
Kevin Hill (6-0) will start the first game as he ranks second in the conference with six win, ranks fifth in ERA (2.45) and seventh in strikeouts (51) and opposing batting average (.231).
Austin Bembnowski (2-3) will start on Saturday and Jared Gates (3-2) will start the finale on Sunday.
South Alabama women’s tennis head coach Jaco Keyser was voted the league’s coach of the year on Monday after leading the Jaguars to their first Conference title since 2003.
Keyser led the team to a 21-2 record, currently the best winning percentage in school history, after starting the season with an 18-match win streak to begin the season, which is also a school-record tying number.
USA shut out 10 opponents this season including five in a row near the end of the regular season. They also went 6-0 against SBC competition. They also defeated #47 Tulane 4-0 for the program’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2009.
Keyser’s 189-100 record in 13 seasons makes him the all-time winningest coach in school history.
Here is the weekend roundup of South Alabama Sports, despite the weather wreaking havoc with several sports in the Gulf Coast Area.
Junior Michaela Meszarosova was able to pull out a marathon three-set match to give her team a 4-3 win over Texas-Arlington and its first Sun Belt Conference title since 2003. It is their 17th title overall, the most in conference history, and will receive the SBC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 21-2 overall record.
The Men’s team did not fare as well as the women. After making their way into the SBC Finals and facing top-seed Troy, the Jags fell 4-1 to the Trojans.
The Jags fall to 16-9 on the season as they are ranked 69th in the nation. Troy improves their record to 25-6 as they are ranked 60th in the nation.
USA started off strong as Daniel Leitner and Gerhard Gruindelingh took the first doubles match 8-5, but that would be the only match the team won as Troy would win the next four.
The #22 ranked Jaguar softball team was supposed to host Texas State for their final conference home series of the regular season, however the rescheduled doubleheader for Sunday was cancelled due to field conditions which were made unplayable by heavy rains in the area throughout the week.
No make up date will be scheduled.
The Jaguars will travel to Hattiesburg, MS on Wednesday to face Southern Miss. They defeated the Eagles 9-1 in six innings in Mobile on March 18.
The opening day of the Sun Belt Conference Championships were called off on Sunday due to course conditions at the Sandestin Golf Resort Raven Course.
Weather permitting, the tournament will begin monday morning at 7:30am and will consist of 36 holes. The final round would still be played on Tuesday.
The Jags traveled to Evansville, Indiana to face the Evansville University over the weekend.
In game one on Friday, it was Ben Gann’s grand slam in the third inning that led the Jaguars to a 7-3 win.
EU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out two-run home run.
The Jags answered with four runs in the top of the third on the Grand Slam. But Evansville would cut the lead to one run in the bottom of the fourth inning on a two-out RBI single to center field.
In the top of the fifth, USA answered with a run to regain their two run lead. They would add two more insurance runs before the end of the game.
Kevin Hill (6-0) allowed three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts against three walks for his sixth consecutive win.
Evansville then swept a Saturday doubleheader to take the series from the Jags. They won the first game 6-5 then took the series with a 9-5 win in the finale.
USA will host Jacksonville State to a two-game series this week with the first game on Tuesday night starting at 6pm and the second game on Wednesday slated to start at 3pm.
South Alabama teams will be competing in several sports this weekend, some trying to win Conference titles while others are trying to position themselves to make a run at their Conference tournaments. Below is a rundown of the weekend events.
The #22 Softball team will host their final Sun Belt Conference series at home this weekend when Texas State comes to town.
The Jags roll into the weekend after going to Starkville to defeat Mississippi State 3-2 on Tuesday night and having won their last 11 games.
The Jags (32-7, 14-3 SBC) currently sits in second place in the conference behind Louisiana-Lafayette (32-5, 15-3 SBC). Texas State is in third place in the conference behind the Jaguars with a 25-19 record overall and an 8-6 record in conference play and enter the weekend with a three-game win streak.
The Jags and Bobcats are scheduled to begin with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1pm at Jaguar Field and the Sunday finale is scheduled for 1pm at Jaguar Field as well.
The Jaguar baseball team steps out of conference play this weekend to face Evansville in a three game series in Evansville, Indiana.
USA (24-13) will start right-hander Kevin Hill (5-0) for his seventh start of the year in the season opener. He has won his last five starts. Austin Bembnowski (2-3) will start his sixth game of the season on Saturday. Southpaw Jared Gates (3-1) will start the series finale set for Sunday.
Evansville (18-15) defeated Indiana 2-1 in 14 innings on Wednesday.
Men’s and Women’s Tennis
Both the men and women will be competing for Sun Belt Conference Titles this weekend. The Women’s squad is the #1 seed and will began action at 8am on Friday morning. The Men’s team is the #3 seed and will begin play on Friday afternoon against Appalachian State.
Men’s and Women’s Track and Field
The Track and Field team will return to action at the War Eagle Invitational. This will be their second trip to Auburn this spring. A total of 12 teams will be competing including Auburn, Mississippi State, Troy and Kent State.
Senior Daniel Leitner was named the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Tennis Player of the Year for the second-consecutive year and also named to the All-Conference team. Juniors Tim Srkala and Gerhard Gruindelingh and Sophomore Tuki Jacobs were all named to the All-Conference team as well.
Leitner and Srkala were voted to the first-team in singles, Jacobs was voted to the second-team in singles. Leitner and Gruindelingh were anmed to the first-team in doubles.
The Jags, ranked #69, enters the weekend with a three-match winning streak and a 14-8 mark in their spring contests. They finished out the regular season last week and will begin play in the Sun Belt Conference Championships this weekend.
The #3 seeded Jaguars will open against Appalachian State on Friday at 3PM for the first meeting between the two schools.
In Women’s Tennis, senior Emily Newton and sophomore Laura Valkova were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Women’s Tennis teams in both singles and doubles play. Sophomore Monica Mitta was also named to the All-Conference team. The trio of Jaguars led South Alabama to an 18-2 regular-season record and the #1 seed in the Sun Belt Championships.
Newton was named to the doubles first team with Valkova and the singles second team and earning all-conference honors for the third consecutive season to become the first Jag to accomplish that since Michaela Babicova in 2009.
Valkova earns all-conference honors in singles and doubles for the second-consecutive season, earning a spot on the first-team in both singles and doubles.
The team of Newton and Valkova have yet to suffer a defeat in 11 matches at #1 doubles this season and have won their last 12 matches together dating back to the fall.
The USA Women’s team will face Texas State on Friday at 8AM in the first round of the SBC Championships.
The Women’s golf team turned in a final-round score of 311 at the Sun Belt Conference Championship at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley, AL on Wednesday. Due to inclement weather, only two rounds of the tournament were able to be completed as the Jags concluded with a two-round event with a total score of 617 (306-311).
“The weather finally cooperated, and I thought the girls gave it a really good effort,” South Alabama head coach TJ Jackson said. “All year we’ve been working on getting mentally tough, and they showed that today even though the score doesn’t reflect it. I saw a lot of improvement in that area. Ingrid had a really rough front nine, but came back with four birdies on the back nine, that was indicative of the whole team and their effort. I was pleased with that part of it, but we’d like the scores to be lower obviously.”
Ingrid Hagen, who led the team in the first round, posted a 78 in the second round to finish the tournament tied for 15th out of 40 participants with a total score of 153.
Caroline Beebe (76-78) and Carianne Wright (77-78) each shot 6-over par 78’s with total scores of 154 and 155 respectively. Beebe tied for 18th place overall while Wright and freshman Madison Connell (78-77) shot a two-round score of 155 after a 5-over par 77 in the second round to finish tied for 21st. Fellow freshman Kaeli Jones (79-80) posted a two-round total of 159 and finished 31st overall.
Troy won the tournament with a team score of 593 (301-292) while Arkansas-Little Rock’s Stina Resen (72-70) won medalist honors with a two-under par total of 142.
Hagen, the Jags lone senior, completed her final event for the Jaguars and was quoted after the round. “I started off a little rough with a lot of bogeys, but I made the turn determined to finish strong,” she explained. “I made up my mind to go low and everything rolled in from there.
“I hit some iron shots that came in close. I made a birdie on No. 2, and I chipped in on the next par three, which was a clutch up-and-down there. I had some putts that finally rolled in that didn’t fall on the front nine.”
“Ingrid is a senior and she knows what to do,” Jackson commented. “She didn’t get down on herself, she played that ‘one-shot-at-a-time’ cliché that we’re always talking about and made some birdies coming in. That’s what it’s all about, and I think the team as a whole did that well this week.
“We made some strides in the mental game, and that’s what we were wanting to do,” Jackson said. “These girls are very talented — they can hit any shot out there — but it’s how we’re thinking around that golf course that makes the difference. I feel we’ve made strides there, so going into next year I’m really excited. We’ve got some young players who can play, I’m ready for next year already.”
The final team results:
1. Troy +17
2. Texas State +29
3. Arkansas-Little Rock +31
4. Appalachian State +36
5. Georgia State +40
6. South Alabama +41
7. Arkansas State +44
8. Louisiana Monroe +47