OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss softball team continued its strong play Sunday and defeated Saint Louis 5-3 and Tennessee Martin 3-2 to finish 5-0 at the Red and Blue Classic at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
In winning the tournament, Ole Miss (11-6) extend its winning streak to seven games and outscored its opponents 20-5.
"It was nice to play at home and for the weather to be as beautiful as it was this weekend," Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. "You're more comfortable with your field because you practice on it all the time, and you could really tell with our defense that we were a lot more comfortable with our field."
The Rebels and Skyhawks again played another close game after having had their past two games against each other decided by one run. Ole Miss left just three runners on base against UT Martin on Sunday, and had a strong defensive presence in the field to back up another good performance in the circle from senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter.
With runners on first and second, redshirt-freshman second baseman Alyssa Invergo hit an RBI single up the middle to put the Rebels on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Then, with two outs in the inning, junior right fielder Jamie Morgan hit a beautiful two-RBI double down the left field line to score both senior catcher Marina Parra and Invergo.
After a dominant start by Fenter, UT Martin scored two runs in the top of the sixth on a two-RBI single to pull within one run at 3-2.
For the second consecutive game, senior pitcher Carly Hummel entered the game in the seventh inning with the pressure on, and delivered. Hummel allowed one hit in the seventh, but never allowed the runner to advance past first base, and the Rebels held on to win the game 3-2.
"It's a lot of fun to pitch with a staff this year," Thees said. "All of our kids are super talented, they've all done a good job of attacking the strike zone, and they have some nasty stuff, and they're very different. For me, it's kind of fun to go to somebody else who may be a little different than the one who started on the mound, and we did that a lot this weekend."
Morgan knocked in a team-high five RBI at the Red and Blue Classic while also hitting a team-best .556. Fenter went 2-0 for the week with a 1.11 ERA, while Hummel went 1-0 with two saves and an unblemished 0.00 ERA.
Behind a strong pitching performance and key hits in big situations, the Ole Miss softball team defeated Saint Louis 5-3 on Sunday afternoon at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The win over the Billikens, who were previously 4-0 in the Red and Blue Classic, sealed the tournament championship for the home-standing Rebels.
Ole Miss starting pitcher, redshirt-freshman Emily Gaitan, finished the game with six strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work en route to getting her second win of the year. It was the Tampa, Fla., native's second highest strikeout total of the young season.
Senior center fielder RT Cantillo, sophomore shortstop Haley Culley and senior first baseman Londen Ladner each had two hits in the game. Cantillo also knocked in three runs, while Culley and Morgan each had one RBI in the victory.
Ole Miss got on the board in the bottom of the second with four runs on three hits. The Rebels loaded the bases with just one out away and Morgan up to bat. Morgan stayed patient at the plate throughout her at bat, and was rewarded with an RBI walk. Cantillo then battled out of an 0-2 hole and roped a double into the left-center field gap to clear the bases and put the Rebels up four.
Saint Louis scored one run in the fourth inning to cut the Ole Miss lead to three. Prior to the Billikens' run, Ole Miss had thrown 25 straight scoreless innings.
Culley put Ole Miss up by four runs again in the sixth inning with an RBI single up the middle that scored freshman catcher Courtney Syrett from third base.
The Billikens fought back again in the top of the seventh. Following a bunt single, Saint Louis hit a two-run home run to left-center field to cut its deficit in half. With a runner on first base, Thees put Hummel in the game for the save opportunity. Hummel proceeded to strike out the first two batters she faced, and got the third batter to line out to Parra at second base.
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