OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss softball team fought Friday night in its Southeastern Conference home opener against No. 9 Alabama, but five errors proved to be too costly in the 10-2 loss at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
“We were tight today,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “We were playing our SEC home opener against Alabama and you could just see it in the first inning. There wasn’t a person on the field who didn’t play a little bit tight. We get them on base on an error, people who don’t usually make errors, then a walk and we give up a home run. We don’t do that and we’ve been good at not doing that this year.
“That was tough to put us in a hole, but we came back. It was great to see us come back, but we continued to play tight and force things. If we have to correct one thing that’s what I told our kids, ‘They’re No. 9, they have everything to lose and we have nothing to lose. Right now, we have to play good, clean softball and we’re in that game.’ ”
Ole Miss (16-11, 1-3 SEC) was outhit in the game by just three, but the Crimson Tide’s timely hits with runners on base allowed them to get 10 runs on the board.
Alabama (22-4, 4-0 SEC) came out of the gates hot and scored four runs on two hits and one Ole Miss error in the top-half of the game’s opening frame, including a three-run home run by designated player Jadyn Spencer.
Sophomore designated player Madi Osias got the Rebels on the board in the bottom of the second with a leadoff home run to left-center field. It was the third home run of the year for the Tustin, Calif., native. A sacrifice fly to right field one inning later by sophomore outfielder Bri Payne brought Ole Miss to within three at 5-2.
Alabama, however, was able to score one run in innings three-six and two runs in the seventh to distance itself from the home-standing Rebels.
The Rebels and Crimson Tide continue their series Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. It will be the first Crawfish Saturday of the year with 100 pounds of crawfish available for fans in the outfield free of charge. The series finale Sunday is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CT and will be the first Sundae Sunday at the park, where fans can get free ice cream sundaes while supplies last.
With one game under the belt now, Thees is hoping the team can come in fresh for the series’ final two games.
“They didn’t just monster mash us,” Thees said. “They had six hits on the day. Six hits in a seven-inning game; it isn’t like they were just mashing it all over the place. We just gave up too many free bases, and I have to give them credit that’s why they’re a top-10 team perennially. They got the clutch hit when they needed it. They got runners in scoring position and they got that hit. We need to make sure we keep the free base runners off, and then we got everybody out when that wasn’t the situation. We just have to play cleaner softball.”
For all Ole Miss softball news and information, including game recaps and live stats of each game in this series, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans can also follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.
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