HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Trailing 3-0 entering the seventh inning of Tuesday's second game vs. Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss., the Ole Miss softball team (6-6) rallied to plate three runs and win the game in the eighth inning to complete its doubleheader sweep of the Golden Eagles on the road.
Ole Miss won the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader 7-4 before its exciting, 4-3 extra-inning win in game two.
"In the first game we really came out swinging and we did a great job of scoring a lot of runs," Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. "We made some mistakes defensively in both games that I wish we would clean up. ... I was really proud to see the fight in my kids. My kids said, `No, we're winning this game.' All of our hitters were seeing the ball pretty well, even the people who didn't get a lot of hits - or any hits - had a purpose when they were up there, swinging and hitting the ball hard. I loved seeing that.
"We needed the sweep. We needed to get back to .500 and climb from here. I'm really proud of the fight in my kids, because being down 3-0 in the seventh on the road you could lay down, and our kids didn't. For that, I'm really proud of them."
Senior center fielder RT Cantillo led Ole Miss at the plate by going a combined 7-8 with two RBI and one run to raise her batting average to .561 on the year.
Junior third baseman Allison Brown also had a big day by going a combined 4-8 in the two games with four RBI and one run scored.
Early in Tuesday's second game, junior right fielder Jamie Morgan kept the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the third with a beautiful throw to freshman catcher Courtney Syrett at the plate, who made a nice tag on the runner to finish the out.
After going 4.2 innings of two-hit ball, freshman pitcher Emily Gaitan gave way to senior Shelby Jo Fenter with the bases loaded and two away. The Golden Eagles took advantage of the situation by scoring their first run of the game on an RBI walk, but Fenter then got the final out to limit the damage done.
Southern Miss tacked on two more runs the next inning on a double to the left field wall and a single through the left side to take a 3-0 lead.
Trailing by three entering the top of the seventh, Ole Miss rallied to tie the game by scoring three runs on four hits. Morgan, Cantillo and sophomore shortstop Haley Culley each recorded singles to lead off the inning and load the bases for Brown. The Los Alamitos, Calif., native proceeded to come through with a two-RBI single to left-center field and advanced to second on the throw. With one out away, freshman left fielder Miranda Strother grounded out to second, but it was enough to bring Culley home from third base and tie the score at 3-3.
Ole Miss then took a one-run lead in the eighth inning via a fielding error by Southern Miss with two outs away that allowed Syrett to score from second base.
Southern Miss created more drama in the bottom of the eighth with a triple with two outs away, but Fenter got the Golden Eagles to hit a soft liner to Culley for the third out and the Rebels completed their comeback.
"Everything builds confidence," Thees said. "These ladies came in with some confidence, but this will help them the next time we're in this situation knowing that we can come back, because we've done it before. Once you've done it once it definitely helps you throughout the season."
Ole Miss will open its home schedule Friday against Bowling Green (6:00 p.m. CT) with its first game of the Red and Blue Classic. The Rebels will face Buffalo (1:30 p.m. CT) and Northern Colorado (3:45 p.m. CT) on Saturday, followed by another doubleheader Sunday vs. Saint Louis (1:30 p.m. CT) and Tennessee-Martin (3:45 p.m. CT). For all scores and links to live stats at the Red and Blue Classic, go to the Red and Blue Classic tournament central page.
Fourteen Hits Power Ole Miss to 7-4 Win in Game One of Doubleheader
After walking the leadoff batter in the bottom of the first, Ole Miss got out of trouble with a strike out-throw out at second base. It was the fourth base runner attempting to steal this season who senior catcher Marina Parra has thrown out, which leads the Southeastern Conference.
Strother put the first Rebel run on the board with a solo home run to lead off the second inning. It was the first home run of the year for the rookie from Suwanee, Ga.
Southern Miss took a 3-1 lead in the third inning with three runs on three hits and one Ole Miss error.
The Rebels put it behind them in the fourth inning with five runs on five hits to take a 6-3 lead. With the bases loaded and one out away, Cantillo hit a sacrifice fly deep to center field to score Strother from third base. Then, with the bases loaded again, Brown hit a two-RBI single up the middle that was stretched to a double off a fielding error by the Southern Miss center fielder. Osias then hit another two-RBI single - this one to right field - to give the Rebels a three-run lead.
Ole Miss tacked on one more run in the next inning on a double to left field by Cantillo that brought Morgan home from first base.
Southern Miss scored one run in the seventh and brought the tying run to the on-deck circle, but Hummel closed out the game with three strikeouts in the inning to seal the 7-4 win.
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