OXFORD, Miss. - In a game Rebel Nation won't soon forget, the Ole Miss softball team (6-8) showed its grit, determination and fight in a thrilling come-from-behind 9-8 victory over McNeese State on Friday night at the Red & Blue Classic.
With two outs on the board at the Ole Miss Softball Complex and the game tied in the bottom of the eighth, Lauren Lindsey hit a walk-off RBI single through the right side to give the Rebels the dramatic victory that saw them fight off a five-run deficit entering the bottom of the do-or-die inning.
"I'm really proud," Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees said. "I think Lu (Lauren Lindsey) has done such a phenomenal job. All she has needed is at-bats and the more at-bats she gets the better she gets. I'm so happy for her because I know she wanted this moment.
"There's never been a doubt to me one, how talented our team is, and two, how much they want to win," Thees said. "It's just about figuring out how to win. ... We're still figuring it out, but hopefully this win right here will catapult us to tomorrow and the next day."
After tying the game in the bottom of the seventh, Ole Miss loaded the bases but couldn't end the game in regulation and the two teams went to the eighth.
The Cowgirls (9-6) plated five runs in the top of the eighth, but the Rebels showed their resolve in the bottom of the inning by matching the Cowgirls run for run and never showing an ounce of quit.
"There was no let down; there were no thoughts in the dugout that we weren't going to keep going up to bat," Thees said. "Everybody had their helmets on (in the dugout) that was even in the lineup and they were ready to go up to bat and get a hit."
Lindsey, who entered the game with a hit in each of her last five at-bats, seized her opportunity in the clutch situation.
"You always say, `Do what you can with the opportunity you're given.' I was given an opportunity, so I had to take it," Lindsey said.
The Rebels dug themselves into a hole early in the game as McNeese State got on the board in the second inning with a solo home run to center field. The Cowgirls then stretched the lead to 3-0 with a two-run home run to left-center.
Thees then turned to senior pitcher Erinn Jayjohn, who threw a complete game shutout Wednesday night in a victory over Southern Miss, and the captain delivered by taking Ole Miss the rest of the way and earning her second victory in as many games.
"We've kind of been trying to figure out who we are still," Jayjohn said. "Being able to come out of an 8-3 hole like that is huge, especially for us right now."
One inning later, the Rebels tacked another run on the board when sophomore third baseman Allison Brown hit a line drive at the pitcher. With no other play, Cowgirls pitcher Jamie Allred threw Brown out at first and freshman shortstop Halley Culley came home.
Brown tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single up the middle that scored Culley from second. The Rebels again loaded the bases later in the inning but could not drive any more home and the game went to extra innings.
After allowing five runs in the top of the eighth, Ole Miss regrouped in the bottom half of the inning with its back against the wall. With the international tie rule in effect due to tournament play, Marina Parra began the inning on second base. Bri Payne was hit by a pitch and Kelly Nolan hit a single to load the bases. Culley then earned an RBI walk to score Parra and cut the lead to four.
"Bri getting hit by that first pitch was huge for us," Thees said. "It was just like, boom, we have two runners on, now we got three, now all of a sudden we're just pecking away and pecking away."
An RBI by Cantillo on a fielder's choice cut the deficit further, and a wild pitch later in the inning scored Nolan from third base to make it a two-run game. Freshman Madi Osias reached on a fielding error and advanced to second base, scoring two runs to tie the game.
Lindsey put the final touch on the incredible rally with a two-out single through the right side that scored Osias from second base and gave Ole Miss the 9-8 victory. It was the first extra-inning game Ole Miss has played this year, and it was the Rebels' first victory of the season when trailing after six innings.
Lindsey finished 3-5 with three singles and an RBI. Culley was 3-3 at the plate with three singles, two runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Jayjohn threw 5.1 innings, striking out two and picking up the victory.
Ole Miss will play two games Saturday, day two of the Red & Blue Classic. The Rebels will open with UT-Martin at 1:30 p.m. CT, and finish with Drake at 3:45 p.m. CT.
For all Ole Miss softball news and information, including live stats and a recap of each of Ole Miss' games at the Red & Blue Classic, go to OleMissSports.com. For live stats and box scores of each of the games at the Red & Blue Classic, visit the tournament central page. Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.
Ole Miss fell 17-10 in overtime to intrastate rival Mississippi State, but the Rebels' one score provided a special moment for two of the team's unsung players. Down 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the first half, Ole Miss called... read more
Ole Miss sent seniors Kellie Goss and Kara Morgan out with a win as the Rebels topped LSU 3-2 on Senior Night. "It was a great win," head coach Joe Getzin said. "We tweaked the lineup, and one of our... read more
One of the core values for the Ole Miss football program is mental toughness. With a rivalry game in a hostile environment, it will carry a greater importance. "You're going into a hostile environment, and that's the biggest thing," offensive... read more
The Egg Bowl returns to Thanksgiving night for the first time since 2003, which is also the last time Ole Miss won in Starkville. Thursday's game is the 110th meeting of one of the nation's most-played rivalries and the 86th... read more
Ole Miss had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri on Saturday night. The 24th-ranked Rebels now face a quick turnaround as they travel to face intrastate rival Mississippi State on Thursday night in... read more
Head coach Hugh Freeze meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.Ole Miss is the only school in the upper half of the SEC statistical rankings in every major offensive and defensive category. This week, the Rebels face one... read more
Photo Gallery Courtney Cunningham is a builder. While playing volleyball for Ole Miss from 2009-11, Cunningham helped build the Rebels into an NCAA Tournament team while also earning her civil engineering degree. From that degree, Cunningham is helping build... read more
There's a different air surrounding this week's primetime showdown with No. 8 Missouri, the Rebels' first top-10 test since a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU back on Oct. 19. "It's a huge week for us," junior quarterback Bo Wallace... read more
Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught a short pass from junior quarterback Bo Wallace, made six Troy defenders miss and dove into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the start of a historic day for the Ole... read more
Ole Miss won its second ever NCAA Tournament game and set a school record for wins in a season with 16, as seven different Rebels scored in a 9-0 win over Jackson State Friday night. No. 22-ranked Ole Miss (16-5-2)... read more
Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, visited campus Wednesday. He spent time with head coach Hugh Freeze, spoke to the team and signed the equipment room Wall of Fame. "He's one of... read more
Ole Miss is bowl eligible for the second straight year under head coach Hugh Freeze after a 34-24 win over Arkansas this past Saturday. The Rebels are also 6-3 for the first time since 2009, when the started 8-3 before... read more
After Ole Miss took a 20-10 lead into halftime, the momentum swung in favor of Arkansas after an interception, a touchdown-scoring drive and a defensive three-and-out to start the third quarter. Now leading 20-17, senior quarterback Barry Brunetti converted a... read more
Junior guard Jarvis Summers scored a career-high 28 points to lift Ole Miss past Troy, 69-54, in Saturday's season opener in the Tad Smith Coliseum. He shot 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from the field, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range. "He was... read more