OXFORD, Miss. – Shortstop Allison Brown tied former All-American Lauren Grill’s Ole Miss freshman record with her 31st RBI of the season, but the Rebels dropped Friday night's series opener 5-3 to Mississippi State at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
With the game tie at one in the bottom of the first, the Rebels (16-22, 3-12 SEC) took a 2-1 lead after left fielder Brittany Broome was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on RT Cantillo’s single to right. With one out, first baseman Londen Ladner walked to load the bases and then Brown singled to right to plate Broome and tie the game at one. Designated Erinn Jayjohn followed with a single to left that scored Cantillo and gave Ole Miss a 2-1 lead after one.
Brown finished the game 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI, a walk and a run scored, while Cantillo added a hit and scored a run.
MSU (23-19, 6-14 SEC) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after center fielder Jessica Offutt reached on a booted ground ball by second baseman Corrine Doornberg and later scored on a two-out single to left by left fielder Jessica Cooley.
Bulldogs second baseman Heidi Sharpe tied the game at two in the third on a two-out, infield single that scored catcher Ka’ili Smith from second after she led off the frame with a double to center. MSU loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth after Ole Miss starter Kendall Bruning walked the first time batters then hit Brittany Bell. After right fielder Brittany Gates was picked off at second for the first out, pinch hitter Chrissie Rovtar grounded into a fielder’s choice and Brown gunned down Erinn Nesbit at home plate for the second out. Bruning then got Smith to roll a grounder to short, but Brittany Bell was called out on runner’s interference to end the threat.
With the game tied at two, two outs and nobody on in the top of the seventh, Smith singled up the middle and Bruning walked the next two batters to load the bases. Second baseman Heidi Sharpe then knocked a three-run double to right center to put MSU up 5-2.
Ole Miss threatened in the bottom of the seventh after catcher Marina Parra singled to right to start the frame and pinch hitter Lauren Lindsey drew a walk with one out to put runners on first and second. Bruning flew out to right for the second out, but pinch hitter Natalie Nimmo singled through the left side of the infield to plate Parra and cut the deficit to two.
Bruning (12-12) took the loss after giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits in seven innings. She struck out four and walked four in her 15th complete game of the season.
The Rebels and the Bulldogs will continue their three-game series tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. Saturday is also the third annual "Kids Take Over The Park Day" game to support the Le Bonhuer Children's Hospital in Memphis. Donations will be accepted during the game and children aged 5-12 will fill a variety of jobs at the ball park.
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