COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Ole Miss softball team played No. 13 Missouri tight in each game of Friday’s doubleheader at University Field in Columbia, Mo., but the Rebels faced heartbreak in game one and had a three-run home run robbed in a tough pitching duel in game two to fall 5-3 and 2-0, respectively.
After taking a one-run lead in the top of the seventh, Ole Miss lost 5-3 in the series opener on a walk-off three-run home run. The Rebels then fell 2-0 in game two despite allowing just four hits against the Tigers, which entered the game with the second most hits in the Southeastern Conference.
“In game two, we came back out and we fought and fought. It was big pitching duel,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “We gave up an unearned run early, but you have to score to win. She definitely shut us down and they robbed that three-run home run on a great catch. Courtney Syrett hit it over and they went over, got it and brought it back.”
Senior pitcher Carly Hummel had a strong game in game two against Missouri, throwing a complete game with one earned run allowed, four hits, no walks and two strikeouts.
“When we hit our spots we did really, really well,” Thees said. “When we switched speeds we did really, really well. When we missed our spots and location, they’re definitely a team that makes you pay. That’s why they’re one of the best hitting teams in the country.”
Missouri took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly to right field by Mackenzie Sykes.
Ole Miss threatened in the top of the fourth with runners on first and second, but Syrett was robbed of a three-run home run by Sykes, who made a fantastic catch by stretching out over the wall in left field to make the catch.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the fifth, which proved to be the final score, on a leadoff home run to left field from designated player Natalie Fleming.
With Easter being Sunday, the two schools will conclude their three-game series Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. CT at University Field.
The Ole Miss softball team took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh in game one of Friday’s doubleheader at No. 13 Missouri, but fell victim to a walk-off home run and lost 5-3.
“They were really well played games,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “We had the lead (in game one) by sneaking in some runs on some good speed we have, and some base stealing. We wanted to close it out with our best, but you know what, it’s hard to play on the road in the SEC. They rose up and took game one.”
Five different Rebels recorded base hits and starting pitcher Emily Gaitan, a freshman from Tampa, Fla., threw 5.2 strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits.
With runners on the corners and one out away in the top of the seventh, Ole Miss executed a double steal to perfection, allowing junior third baseman Allison Brown to come home from third base and give the Rebels a 3-2 lead going into the bottom half of the inning.
Missouri rallied with two outs, though, to get the win. After back-to-back singles, Tigers third baseman Natalie Fleming hit a three-run, walk-off home run to right field to give Missouri the 5-3 victory.
Ole Miss got off to a good start Friday afternoon in game one. With the bases loaded and one out on the board, sophomore designated player Madi Osias hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score senior outfielder RT Cantillo and give Ole Miss a 1-0 lead.
Missouri responded in the bottom half of the inning with a two-RBI double to right-center by designated player Angela Randazzo.
The Rebels tied the game in the fourth with a perfectly executed squeeze play. With freshman left fielder Miranda Strother at third, senior catcher Marina Parra laid down a bunt along the third-base line, and reached first with no problem.
The two teams then exchanged scoreless innings until the dramatic seventh.
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