OXFORD, Miss. - In a 10-inning marathon of a game Sunday afternoon at the Ole Miss Softball Complex, the Rebel softball team dropped a heartbreaking series finale to No. 11 Kentucky, 11-4 (10).
Ole Miss took a 4-2 lead into the sixth, but the Wildcats came back to tie the game in that inning, and then win the game in the 10th inning.
"We showed up ready to play, and we wanted to take one of these close games," Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. "We dropped two really close ones and we played really hard. We didn't give up that big hit. We gave up a couple early, but we fought back and got one back to make it 2-1 in the first inning. We got a 4-2 lead, and really played pretty well. Then we gave up the long ball kind of out of the blue a couple times. It still was tied and we showed a lot of heart, kept getting people on base, but we still needed that big hit, especially when you're the home team and you're in extra innings. All you need is that one hit to get them in.
"It's frustrating as a coach, it's frustrating for our players, but we're back at it. It's a long season and we still have a lot of games left. We just need to make sure we continue to work on stepping up and being that leader for our team."
Senior first baseman Londen Ladner led Ole Miss (20-22, 3-12 Southeastern Conference) at the plate by going 3-4 with two RBIs and a walk. Senior outfielder RT Cantillo also had a strong day at the plate. One game after having her 11-game hitting streak snapped, the Santa Ana, Calif., native went 2-5 with two runs scored.
Senior pitcher Carly Hummel had an impressive game in defeat, throwing a whopping 8.2 innings, allowing just three runs while striking out six.
After Kentucky (36-8, 10-5 SEC) scored two runs in the top of the first with a two-run home run by designated player Emily Gaines, the Rebels responded in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single by Ladner that brought home Cantillo from third base.
Ole Miss tied the game in the third inning with an RBI single by junior third baseman Allison Brown into the left-center field gap that scored Cantillo from second.
The Rebels took the lead in the fifth inning with a pair of RBI singles by Ladner and freshman catcher Courtney Syrett to go up 4-2.
No. 11 Kentucky came back to tie the game in the sixth inning with back-to-back solo home runs from third baseman Nikki Sagermann and shortstop Christian Stokes.
The two teams then shut each other out for the next three consecutive innings until the game was decided in the 10th.
Sagermann hit what wound up being the game-winner for the Wildcats with her second home run, a solo shot to center field, in the top of the 10th inning. Kentucky finished the inning with seven runs scored on five hits to win 11-4.
Ole Miss will play again Tuesday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex against Alcorn State in a doubleheader at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. CT.
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