Trojans head south for Southern Miss invitational

TROY, Ala. For the third consecutive weekend, the Troy University softball team will head into tournament play as they hit the field in the Southern Miss Invitational on Saturday morning against Nicholls State.

Troy (7-3) will play four games in two days in the tournament as they take on the Colonels, Mississippi Valley State, Evansville and host Southern Miss. The Trojans come into the tournament off a runner-up performance in their own tournament – the 2011 Quality Inn Classic.

In their previous tournament, junior Nikki Hollett (Melbourne, Australia/Wesley College) was named Most Valuable Player as she hit .500 in five games. She also collected three doubles, a triple and three home runs. Those statistics also led her to being named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week this past week. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by junior Michelle Hewett (Alford, Fla./Chipola JC) who connected on a pair of home runs from the lead-off position.

Joining those two at the top of the charts in hitting this season are junior Sarah Shields (Schereville, Ind./Lake Central HS) with .444 batting average, and junior Hayden Gann (Hoover, Ala./Hoover HS) at a .345 clip with a pair of home runs.

This week is a homecoming of sorts for senior Ashlyn Williams (Hattiesburg, Miss./Oak Grove HS), as she returns home to play for the first time in her collegiate career. The senior will not see any action this weekend as she is coming off a surgical procedure that will keep her out until next week. However, junior Morgan Grove (Tampa, Fla./Tallahassee CC) has picked up where Williams left off, as she has recorded a 4-0 record on the mound with a 1.91 earned run average. Also, junior Haley Hutchins (McCalla, Ala./Brookwood HS) has recorded a 2-2 record on the mound with a 2.73 earned run average.

The Trojans will take on Nicholls State (5-6) in the opener on Saturday morning, hitting the field at 9 am against a team that they lead the series 4-1-1. They then take on Mississippi Valley State in the second game of the opening day, hitting the field again at 11:30 am.

On the final day, the Trojans take on Evansville (1-4), a team they have faced twice in school history. The Trojans and Purple Aces hit the field at 12:30 pm. They close the tournament against the host Golden Eagles of Southern Miss (5-5), with whom the Trojans have won three of the five previous meetings in the series. That game will conclude the tournament at 5:30 pm.