OXFORD, Miss. – Trailing 5-0, the Ole Miss softball team rallied to score 13 runs in four innings to defeat Arkansas 13-6 Saturday afternoon at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The Rebels will go for the series sweep Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT.
“We got after it,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “We got down early, and that can always be a little frustrating, but I loved seeing our kids come back. I love seeing comeback wins and our kids came back and answered and then we kept putting it on. I loved seeing us score multiple runs throughout the game and we had a lot of different heroes. We got a lot of different people into the game today and had different people step up huge for us. It was a good game all the way around.”
Ole Miss (19-13, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) entered the bottom of the third inning trailing Arkansas (21-10, 1-4 SEC) 5-0, but rallied to plate four runs in the third inning, two runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and then another five runs in the sixth inning.
After plating 10 of its 11 runs in game one Friday with two outs away, Thees was pleased to see her team rally from a deficit in game two.
“It’s great,” said Thees of the Rebels’ comeback efforts. “It’s great to see us offensively gaining confidence every game. That’s what we need at this point in the season because the SEC doesn’t get easier. It’s always tough. So if we can gain offensive confidence, and gain confidence on the mound, it’s going to be a good year.”
Senior Marina Parra went 3-3 at the plate with four runs and a pair of RBIs. Senior RT Cantillo and sophomores Haley Culley and Melina Preciado each recorded two hits on the day. Cantillo and Culley also each drove in two runs and scored one run, while Preciado scored a pair of runs. Sophomore Bri Payne came in as a pinch hitter in the sixth and hit a grand slam home run just over the fence in right field. It was the first home run of the season for Payne and the first grand slam of her collegiate career.
Trailing 5-0 in the third, Ole Miss pulled to within one by scoring four runs on three hits. Cantillo got things started with an RBI double to left-center. Four batters later, freshman Alyssa Invergo hit a two-RBI single, and then senior Londen Ladner scored on a strike three wild pitch in which junior Lauren Lindsey reached first base safely.
Ole Miss then plated two runs in the fourth on a two-RBI double to left-center field by Culley, and two more runs in the fifth on an RBI triple by Parra and an RBI double by Cantillo.
Following an RBI walk from Parra with the bases still loaded in the sixth and the Rebels leading 9-6, Payne entered the game as a pinch hitter and hit the grand slam.
Redshirt freshman Emily Gaitan (4-2) pitched the final 4.2 innings of the game and got the win for Ole Miss.
Sunday’s series finale will be televised by Fox Sports South with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT. Dave Baker and Cheri Kempf will be on the call. It will also be Sundae Sunday at the park, where fans can get free ice cream sundaes while supplies last.
For all Ole Miss softball news and information, including live stats and recaps after each game of the three-game series, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.
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