Another stellar performance from Kaitlin Lee, and a string of three extra-base hits lifted No. 13 Ole Miss to a 2-0 shutout over No. 22 Arizona State Saturday afternoon in the winner’s bracket game of the NCAA Oxford Regional.
With the victory, the Rebels (42-18) secure a spot in Sunday’s regional finale, needing just one win to claim the regional championship. Arizona State (31-21) drops into the elimination game at 6:30 p.m., to face the winner of North Carolina/Southern Illinois.
Both the Rebels and Sun Devils traded fairly quiet innings all afternoon long, as storms skirted the Oxford area and allowed for perfect weather into the afternoon. Lee, and ASU’s Dale Ryndak, were locked into a tight pitchers’ duel for a good portion of the contest, before Ole Miss broke through in the sixth.
Ole Miss entered the sixth with only three hits off Ryndak, but the top of the order changed that as Elantra Cox led off with a stand-up triple to right, setting the tables for the rally. Kylan Becker followed with another stand-up triple, this one to left-center field, driving in Cox for a 1-0 lead. Miranda Strother joined in on the rally two batters later with a double to right-center field, extending the advantage to 2-0, capping the only scoring needed on the afternoon.
The offense wasn’t the only highlight, though, as the Rebels had a string of highlight plays throughout the afternoon. In the fourth, the Sun Devils threatened after a walk and single to shallow left, but Lampton handled a line drive at third and fired to second doubling off the runner for a key double play.
In the sixth, Paige McKinney started it off with a nice pick and throw, before Lampton handled a hot shot right back to her. Lee then worked a strikeout to Chelsea Gonzales, Arizona State’s leading hitter, who finished with two home runs in Friday’s game.
In the seventh, the Sun Devils looked to start a rally as Sashel Palacios roped one into left-center, but she tried stretching the hit into a double and was unsuccessful as Strother corralled it at the wall and fired a bullet into second. That marked one of Lee’s five 1-2-3 frames on the day, as she gave up only three hits and struck out three.
Offensively, Cox was the sparkplug from the top of the order going 3-for-3 with a run scored, while Becker added two hits and an RBI. Strother went 1-for-3 with an RBI, as three of the six overall hits on the day went for extra bases.
With the win, Ole Miss broke its previous single-season wins record of 41 set just last season.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports