OXFORD, Miss. – First baseman Londen Ladner broke a scoreless tie with a sixth-inning solo homer and the Rebels limited South Carolina to no runs and just three hits, as Ole Miss took Friday night’s series opener 1-0 over the Gamecocks at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
With one down in the bottom of the sixth, Ladner took the first pitch she saw from South Carolina starting pitcher Aubrey Broyles deep over the wall in left to break to a scoreless tie and give the Rebels (20-32, 5-22 SEC) a lead they would not relinquish. It was Ladner’s team-best sixth home run of the season.
“I was looking for something inside,” said Ladner. “She had pitched me in the last two at-bats, so I was thinking look in.I got it on the sweet spot, but I got under it just a little. I was rounding first thinking please go. I’m just glad our pitching and defense held us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”
The Gamecocks (23-30, 3-23) threatened in the top of the seventh after designated player Kristen Struett singled to left to lead off the inning and pinch ran for by Hannah Milks, who moved to second on a sac bunt. Reliever Erinn Jayjohn (5-13) then hit pinch hitter Lacey Rother, who was ran for by Kyle Morin, but got shortstop Samie Garcia to ground into a double play to end the game.
South Carolina loaded the bases with two out in the second on a pair of walks and a hit batter by Ole Miss starter Kendall Bruning, but Bruning got Gamecock catcher Shelby Gonzales to ground back to the circle to strand all three runners.
Broyles held the Rebels hitless until the fifth when center fielder Dallas Hardin reached on an infield single with one out. Catcher Marina Parra followed with a single to left to put runners on first and second and a Corrine Doornberg groundout moved both runners into scoring position. However, Broyles got left fielder Brittany Broome to fly out to left to end the threat.
Bruning got the no decision after allowing just two hits and no runs in 5.1 innings of work. She struck out one and walked three. Jayjohn entered in relief in the sixth and picked up the win after giving up one hit in 1.2 innings.
Ole Miss and South Carolina will continue their three-game series tomorrow at 2 p.m. The Rebels will host “Senior Day” activities for the 2012 Ole Miss seniors before the game.
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