NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore third baseman Allison Brown went 4-5 with three doubles and three RBI and the Ole Miss softball team (18-11) defeated Belmont 10-2 on Tuesday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn.
The Rebels scored 10 runs on 15 hits, including five doubles and a home run. In the circle, junior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter picked up her sixth victory of the season, going 4.0 innings while allowing three hits and two runs and striking out five. Freshman Madi Osias came on in relief and picked up her second save of the season, throwing 3.0 innings, allowing two hits and striking out two.
“I thought it was a great game for us to get back on track and for our kids to get their balance back, see the ball well and drive it to all fields,” Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees said.
Brown, who entered the game with a team- and SEC-high 10 doubles, hit three more Tuesday against the Bruins (7-9), accumulating seven total bases on four hits. Brown’s 13 doubles this season surpass her season total from last year.
“She told me today, ‘Coach, I’m done with my slump,’ ” said Thees about Brown. “I like it when they say that before the game. She came up swinging, seeing the ball really well and looking like her old self. I’m excited for the rest of the season that Allison has. She’s a leader for us and has a beautiful swing.”
Junior center fielder RT Cantillo went 3-5 with one home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Senior left fielder Brittany Broome, who batted second in the lineup behind Cantillo, went 2-3 with three runs scored. Combined, the top of the Ole Miss lineup – Cantillo, Broome and Brown – went 9-13 with six runs and five RBI.
Ole Miss got on the board in the top of the first with an RBI double to the left field wall from Brown that scored Cantillo from second base. Cantillo had reached base on a bloop single to center field, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Broome.
Brown added to the Ole Miss lead again in the top of the third with her second RBI double of the game, scoring Broome from second base. With runners on first and second and one out away, freshman right fielder Bri Payne hit a gorgeous RBI double down the left field line to score Brown from second. Natalie Martinez then gave Ole Miss a 4-0 lead with a sharp hit single to left field that scored Londen Ladner from third. Payne then scored on a fielder’s choice by Haley Culley to shallow center field.
Belmont got two runs back in the bottom of the third with a solo home run by a Kat Hollingsworth and an infield single that scored Kirbie Ferrell from third base.
Ole Miss scored one run in the top of the fifth on a single by Culley that scored Melina Preciado from third. Preciado was pinch running for Lauren Lindsey, who led off the fifth with a beautiful, hard hit double down the left field line. It was Lindsey’s fourth double of the year.
The Rebels extended their lead to 7-2 in the top of the sixth with a fielder’s choice by Ladner that scored Broome from third base. Broome had led off the inning with a bunt single to the pitcher. Brown then hit her third double of the game deep to right field that advanced Broome to third base.
Cantillo put the game truly away with a two-run home run to right-center, giving Ole Miss a 9-2 lead. Later in the inning, with Broome on second, Brown capped off her stellar day with an RBI single up the middle.
Ole Miss will now head west to face Tennessee-Martin on Wednesday. The Rebels defeated the Skyhawks 9-8 in eight innings at the Red & Blue Classic on Feb. 23. Ole Miss came back from a five-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning in that game, thanks in part to a grand slam from junior first baseman Ladner.
“They’re a great squad,” Thees said. “They’ve been to regionals in four of the last six years. They’re always good, they’re always tough. They have pitching, they have defense and they have hitting. We’re going to have to definitely bring it all together and take this hitting into Martin on Wednesday.”
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