FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Ole Miss softball team outhit each of its opponents Friday afternoon in Fort Myers, Fla., but too many runners left on base proved to be too much to overcome in a pair of 3-2 losses to Western Kentucky and Florida Gulf Coast on day one of the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational.
“We played two really good teams, our players came ready to play and we played some solid defense,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “We made a couple bad pitches and the long ball killed us today, really. That was it. We outhit our opponents and we hit the ball well, we just left too many runners on base. In two games, when you leave 19 runners on base it’s really hard to come out with a win.”
Ole Miss (0-2) outhit Florida Gulf Coast 12-4 in the second game of the day for the Rebels. All nine Ole Miss starters recorded at least one hit against the Eagles (1-0), including two hits from RT Cantillo, Miranda Strother and Marina Parra.
FGCU took the early lead in the game with a two-run home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the first inning.
The Eagles added another run to the board in the bottom of the third with a solo home run to left field.
Ole Miss cut into the Eagles’ lead in the top of the fourth with a two-RBI single to left field from Parra, bringing the score to 3-2.
Trailing by one still in the top of the seventh, the Rebels put two runs on base but could not drive them home and fell to the tournament host by a 3-2 score. In all, Ole Miss left 11 runners on base to FGCU’s four.
“Offensively, we’re right on the cusp of where we need to be,” Thees said. “Every single person in our lineup had a chance to score some runners at second and third today and we just didn’t make it happen. Sometimes it was line shots to the outfield that were outs; we just got unlucky sometimes too. We have to come through. Even if it’s a crummy hit, we have to come through with a hit in those situations and let our pitchers get a little more breathing room. And our pitching just can’t give up the home runs.”
On day two of the tournament Saturday, Ole Miss faces Georgetown at 9:00 a.m. CT, followed by a matchup against Liberty at 1:30 p.m. CT. The Rebels close out play in the tournament Sunday with the opponent and time of game to be determined.
Ole Miss got off to a strong start in its season opener Friday vs. Western Kentucky at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla., but could not hold on to top WKU, losing 3-2.
Sophomore designated player Madi Osias opened up the scoring for the Rebels with an RBI double to the warning track in right field on the first pitch she saw. Osias’ double scored shortstop Haley Culley from second base and gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
Senior pitcher Carly Hummel faced a jam in the top of the second as the Hilltoppers put runners on first and third with only one out away. The Rebels got out of the jam unscathed though thanks to a nice catch by junior right fielder Jamie Morgan on the warning track, along with a strikeout by Hummel.
Ole Miss put runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth with two outs away, but could not add to its lead after Western Kentucky center fielder India Steward made a fantastic, diving catch on a well-hit ball by Morgan.
The Hilltoppers took their first lead of the game at 2-1 with a two-run home run to center field by designated player Andie Martin in the top of fifth.
Ole Miss responded in the bottom-half of the inning as senior first baseman Londen Ladner hit an RBI single to left field to score Cantillo from second.
The Hilltoppers regained the lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI triple to right-center, but the Ole Miss defense prevented any more runs from coming in, thanks in part to a nice toss from pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter to Parra on a sacrifice squeeze.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Culley drew a walk to put the tying run on base with one out away, but the Rebels could not bring her home.
In all, six different Rebels recorded base hits against WKU.
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