GAINESVILLE, Fla. – On Monday, Ole Miss threw the first perfect game in school history. On Friday, it defeated the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
Led by a career-high 12 strikeouts from senior pitcher Carly Hummel and two RBI from junior third baseman Allison Brown, the Ole Miss softball team defeated No. 1 Florida on Friday night in Gainesville, Fla.
It was the Rebels’ first win over Florida (22-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) since March 13, 2010, and their first win over a No. 1 ranked team since defeating No. 1 Tennessee 5-4 on March 14, 2007. Ole Miss (15-7, 1-0 SEC) has now won its SEC-opener in each year of the Windy Thees era.
“We came out knowing we had nothing to lose, but we’ve been building up to this and we know that we’re playing good softball,” Thees said. “It was great to see Carly dominating on the mound. She’s really feeling it right now and it’s great to see her continue her Utah State outing today. She had all of her pitches working again.”
In Hummel’s last two outings she’s pitched a pair of complete game shutouts, striking out 24 batters en route to a perfect game and a win on the road against the No. 1 team in the country. Dating back to Feb. 15, Hummel has struck out 44 batters in 33.0 innings of work with a 5-0 record, two saves and a 0.85 ERA.
“We’re all in a groove right now. It’s definitely not just myself,” Hummel said. “As a team, we’re all just in a really good place – physically, mentally and in health. We’re good right now. We’re happy.”
It’s been quite the week for Ole Miss. After having all five of its games rained out in San Diego, Ole Miss played a doubleheader Monday in Salt Lake City in which Hummel pitched the first perfect game in program history. The next day, Ole Miss swept Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a home doubleheader in which it ended the final game with a triple play. Now the Rebels can add Friday evening’s victory at a cloudy and cool Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium to the exciting week of memories.
After a combined 10 strikeouts by Ole Miss and Florida in the opening three innings of the game, the bats heated up in the fourth inning.
Ole Miss got on the board with an RBI double to right-center field by Brown that brought home senior outfielder RT Cantillo, who had reached base with a leadoff double to left-center.
In the bottom half of the inning, Hummel showed her poise in the midst of a jam. After the Gators loaded the bases with just one out away, Hummel struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam unscathed and maintain the Rebels’ 1-0 lead.
“That was huge,” said Thees about getting out of the jam without any harm done. “We didn’t panic. In past years maybe we would have stressed out or something, but with Carly calm on the mound, and really our whole defense was calm. It was just nice to have that maturity out there and people who have been there before and wanted the ball. I didn’t think anybody didn’t want the ball. Our whole team said, ‘Hit me the ball, let’s go, we’re going to get out of this,’ and we did.”
Ole Miss added to its lead two innings later in the top of the sixth when Brown led off the inning with a solo home run to right-center field, her third round-tripper of the season, to give Ole Miss a 2-0 lead. In her last five games, the Los Alamitos, Calif., native is 7-14 with six RBI, five runs, two doubles and three home runs, upping her season average to .400.
“I don’t think we shocked ourselves as much as we probably shocked the world,” Hummel said. “It was great. Offensively, we didn’t outhit them by 15, we just got hits when we needed them, and in clutch opportunities. That was really beneficial for us, not only as a team, but to continue to ride that throughout the game. When we went out on defense and had a good inning, we would take that into our offense and we fed well off each other individually.”
The Rebels and Gators continue their SEC-opening series Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. The series will conclude Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m. CT. Sunday’s game will be carried by Sun Sports with Larry Vettel and Meagan Bush on the call.
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