GAINESVILLE, Fla. – One day after upsetting the top-ranked Florida softball team, the Ole Miss Rebels had plans for a repeat Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla., but strong fifth and sixth innings by the Gators were too much to overcome and the Rebels fell 10-3.
Ole Miss (15-8, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, but couldn’t hold off the Gators (23-1, 1-1 SEC) to clinch the series.
“We started Emily Gaitan and didn’t give up a lot of hits, but we struggled finding the strike zone with some of our pitches,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “Shelby Jo Fenter came in and did a really good job, and if she hadn’t tweaked her groin I think she would have been able to keep rolling. It was a 3-3 game going into the later innings. We hit the ball really well and had some good at bats, but we just let the game run away from us and that’s what good teams do. They capitalize and have big innings. Obviously Florida was No. 1 for a reason. They had some big innings and we couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
Senior first baseman Londen Ladner batted in two runs for the Rebels and sophomore shortstop Haley Culley went 2-3 with a run scored, but the Rebels couldn’t cool off the Florida bats in the fifth and sixth innings as the Gators plated seven runs combined in the two innings.
Florida scored one unearned run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, but the Rebels responded in the second inning to tie the game at 1 with an RBI from freshman catcher Courtney Syrett. With freshman left fielder Miranda Strother on first, redshirt-freshman second baseman Alyssa Invergo hit a double to left field to put two runners in scoring position before Syrett got the RBI groundout to the Gators’ second baseman.
The Gators regained the lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI walk from starting pitcher Lauren Haeger.
The lead see-sawed back in favor of Ole Miss in the top of the third when Ladner roped a two-RBI double to left-center field to bring around Culley and junior Allison Brown from second and first base, respectively.
After Florida tied the game again in the fourth inning, the Gators took the lead in the fifth inning by scoring three runs on four hits to take a 6-3 lead. Florida then added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth with four runs on four hits to take a 10-3 lead which would prove to be the final score.
The Rebels and Gators conclude their series 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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