Rebels outlast Bulldogs to win series in Starkville

Posted on Apr 22 2019 - 5:00am by Jade Richardson

The Ole Miss softball team travelled to Starkville to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs over the weekend. After dropping the second game of the series, the Rebels battled in extra innings during game three to secure the series win.

The Rebels only needed five innings to crush the Bulldogs in the first game of the doubleheader on Friday. The Rebel offense had one of its most impressive outings yet, scoring in every single inning on the way to a 21-0 shutout.

The Ole Miss softball team goes over their strategy during a timeout at the series against Florida earlier this season. The Rebels went up against Mississippi State in Starkville this weekend and won two out of three games in the series. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Ole Miss was two runs away from its all-time record of 23 runs scored in a game, but the 21 runs were the most the Rebels had ever scored in a conference game. Every run was scored with an RBI, though, tying the team’s record.

After Kylan Becker singled and stole second, Jessica Puk stepped up to the plate and hit a home run to straight-away center field, giving the Rebels an early lead. After a walk and a hit-by-pitch, Kaylee Horton singled to load the bases for Amanda Roth, who doubled to plate a pair of Rebels.

Following back-to-back walks, which plated another Rebel, Abbey Latham showed off her speed and beat out an infield single to score another. Puk stepped up to the plate for the second time of the inning and delivered a bases-clearing triple to score three more, putting the Rebels up 9- 0 in the first.

At the top of the second inning, the scoring spree continued as Autumn Gillespie hit a solo-shot to right field to increase the Rebels’ lead to 10. After Becker doubled and Latham singled, the Rebels were able to tack on 3 more runs.

The Rebels wasted no time continuing the onslaught in the third inning. After a walk and a single off the bat of Horton, Tate Whitley and pinch hitter Gabby Alvarez both singled to plate three more.

In the fourth, a pair of doubles off the bats of Gillespie and Roth allowed the Rebels to tack on two more to their already colossal lead. In the fifth, three pinch hitters made their way to the plate. Ally Mena singled and Puk walked to put two runners on for Katelin Cooper. The freshman earned her first career hit as a Rebel, hitting a rocket through the gap for a triple to bring 2 runs home.

By the end of the game, Roth and Puk recorded 5 RBIs each, tying for the team high this season.

In the circle, Brittany Finney earned her 12th win, only allowing one hit while striking out six in three scoreless innings. Ava Tillman came in to get the job done, surrendering just 2 walks in two innings.

When the Rebels and Bulldogs returned to the field for game two of the doubleheader, the roles seemed to be reversed. The Rebels struggled to find their rhythm in the box.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs took an early one-run lead thanks to Emily Heimberger, who started things off with a lead-off triple. Heimberger was brought home on a sacrifice fly after a fantastic diving catch by Becker in left-center.

In the second, Bulldog Sarai Niu singled up the middle to continue their scoring spree before Heimberger singled to score two more. Going into the fifth inning with a 5-0 lead over the Rebels, the Bulldogs tacked on another run.

Molly Jacobsen started game two in the circle for the Rebels and took the loss. Jacobsen surrendered five runs on seven hits in 3.0 innings of work. Tillmann once again came on in relief, allowing a single run on five hits in the final three frames.

The first two games of the series were a battle of the bats, but in game three, a pitching duel took place.

Brittany Finney and Emily Williams battled back-and-forth all day long. Finney tossed seven innings of shutout ball before giving up one run in the eighth inning.

Despite having runners in scoring position in a handful of innings, neither team was able to come up with a timely hit to crack the scoreboard. With the score knotted up at zero, the Rebels and Bulldogs headed into extras, where the Rebels ultimately prevailed.

After Mikayla Allee led off the eighth with a double up the left field line, the inning was extended on an error at third base for MSU. Finney stepped up to bat against her Bulldog counterpart and earned a walk after a 14-pitch at-bat to load the bases for Gillespie.

Gillespie hit a bases-clearing double to put 3 runs on the board for the Rebels. Bulldog Mia Davidson hit a solo home run, but it was not enough to take down the Rebels.

With their 11th SEC victory this season, Ole Miss has tied the program record for conference

wins. The Rebels, 33-12 on the season, will look to keep their momentum going this week

against Southern Miss. The Rebels will host the Golden Eagles Wednesday at 6 p.m in Oxford.