CHARLESTON, S.C. – Behind 4.2 scoreless relief innings from senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter and four RBI from senior first baseman Londen Ladner, Ole Miss topped Kansas 6-2 on Friday at the College of Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C.
“The win was really big for us,” Fenter said. “It gives us some momentum that we really needed. We’re coming off some tough losses and that was the pick-me-up we all needed.”
Fenter, who entered Friday afternoon’s game with a 0.81 ERA, stuck out three batters in 4.2 innings, and allowed just two hits and zero walks en route to lowering her ERA to 0.53.
For the sixth time in seven games this season, Ole Miss (3-4) outhit its opponent (7-4). The Rebels did a much better job against Kansas of driving in runners, a point of emphasis by head coach Windy Thees, as they left just three on base against the Jayhawks.
Kansas took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Following a leadoff walk, Jayhawks center fielder Alex Jones advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then to third on a passed ball. The Jayhawks then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring Jones home.
A solo home run to left-center field in the top of the second then gave Kansas a 2-0 lead.
Ole Miss cut its deficit in half with a solo home run to left field by sophomore Natalie Martinez. It was the first round-tripper of Martinez’ career.
Fenter, as she has done multiple times already this season, entered Friday afternoon’s game in a difficult situation, and came through in the clutch by not allowing any runs to get through. With the bases loaded in the third and only one out away, Fenter induced a pop up to Alyssa Invergo at second base and a grounder to Haley Culley at shortstop to get out of the inning with no damage done.
“I live for those moments,” said Fenter of entering games in tight situations. “I love sitting over there and I’m just like, ‘Put me in. I want this pressure situation.’ I don’t know, I just love working under that type of pressure.”
The game turned in the fourth inning for Ole Miss. With the Rebels down 2-1 and threatening with two runners on base and two outs away, Ladner broke out of a slump with a towering, three-run home run well over the left field wall to give Ole Miss a 4-2 lead.
Kansas threatened in the sixth after back-to-back Ole Miss errors put runners on the corners for the Jayhawks with two outs away, but Fenter got Kansas to dribble a ball to first base for an unassisted putout by Ladner.
Ole Miss closed out its scoring in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back RBI singles by junior Allison Brown and Ladner, respectively, to put the Rebels up 6-2.
On Saturday, Ole Miss will face DePaul at 10 a.m. CT, followed by Western Carolina at 5 p.m. CT. The Rebels close out play at the College of Charleston Classic on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT against tournament-host College of Charleston.
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