No.22 Ole Miss softball entered the game-three match-up with No.17 South Carolina needing to find their first SEC win and a way to save the series.
To say Ole Miss softball (15-9, 1-5) was in dire need of a win in game-three is a definite understatement. The Rebels had to have the Sunday win to avoid the series sweep, find their first SEC win of the season and just get back on the winning track. Over the last two weeks the Rebels have won only one game, a midweek blowout at SELA.
A Sunday loss would mean one win in the last nine games and a 6 game deficit in the SEC. That would be a deep hole to try to dig out of in the middle of a tough SEC schedule. And no, the schedule really does not get any easier for the Rebels as they move ahead. The Rebels wanted this win. Of course, No.17 South Carolina would make sure the Rebels had their hands full.
No.22 Ole Miss softball struck first in the bottom of the second as Kylan Becker scored the lone run in the game on a throwing error. The Rebels had to fight off the Gamecocks but were able to do so behind great pitching and great glove-work by support. This proved to be enough to keep No.17 South Carolina off the board giving the Rebels the 1-0 shutout win.
It’s obvious Ole Miss Softball has been in a slump at the plate. However, the Rebels out hit the Gamecocks 6-3 in game-three. According to OleMissSports.com, the hitting performance in game-three with the Gamecocks was only the second time the Rebels have out-hit their opponents in the last eleven games. The Rebels showed Sunday that strong shutdown pitching can go a long way with decent plate action. Of course, we can see it when we look at the numbers.
By The Numbers
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Freshman right-hander Ava Tillman drew her first collegiate start in the circle for the Rebels and delivered big time. Tillman threw a complete game shutout allowing only 3 hits. Tillman had 6 Ks and only 1 BB.
At the plate the Rebels stepped up. Four Rebels combined for 6 hits in the game and two Rebels had multiple hit games. Sophomore Kaylee Horton and junior Celeste Wood both went 2 for 3. Senior Elantra Cox went 1 for 3 at the plate. Junior Kylan Becker went 1 for 3 and also scored the winning run.
The Rebels struggled at the plate in the first two games of the series and despite almost perfect pitching they dropped both games. The Rebels pitching staff is one of the best in the SEC and can go deep into games. In the case of game-three we saw a complete game shutout by the staff.
However, for the Rebels to be competitive on a championship level they have to hit the ball better than they have. We all know this team can be brutal at the plate and they will find their way back to effective and consistent hitting. Did yesterday’s game open up the Rebels bats? We don’t have to wait long to find out. The Rebels have a midweek test coming.
No.22 Ole Miss softball will be back in action Tuesday as they travel to Memphis to take on the Tigers. The Tigers are currently 19-7 with a 11-2 record at home. First pitch for the midweek match-up is set for 5pm CT. Good luck to coach Mike Smith and the Rebels. BEAT THE TIGERS! Hotty Toddy!