Timely hitting and a career-high 12 strikeouts from Brooke Vestal help Ole Miss softball take game one of the series 6-2 against Stephen F. Austin Thursday night at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
Vestal shined in the circle, punching out 12 batters in 6.0 innings of work for the Rebels (19-4). She held the Ladyjacks (8-13) to three hits while surrendering her first earned run of the season. Freshman Catelyn Riley came on in relief to record the final three outs.
After back-to-back walks to start the game, Vestal responded in the circle. The junior struck out seven consecutive batters spanning from the first to the third inning.
Ole Miss jumped out to the early lead in the bottom half of the second, taking advantage of the only error of the game. Mikayla Allee took a free pass and worked her way around the bases, eventually scoring on a fielding error by the SFA shortstop.
With Vestal cruising, the Rebels looked to add some runs in the fourth. Sydney Gutierrez led off the inning with a single and gave way to pinch-runner Brooke Barnard. The speedy freshman stole second base and moved to third on a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Angelina DeLeon got ahold of a 2-2 pitch and crushed her first career home run over the wall in left to push the lead to 3-0
The Ladyjacks continued to look for opportunities to get back in the game, but the Rebel defense held strong. Allee snagged a lineout in the fifth and fired it over to first for a double play to erase a walk, and clutch strikeouts helped Vestal hold SFA at bay in the sixth after a leadoff double.
Paige Smith muscled an RBI single back up the middle in the fifth, and Tate Whitley delivered with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth to break the game open. Stephen F. Austin was able to get two back in the top half of the seventh, but Riley slammed the door to help the Rebels take game one.
The Rebels are back in action on Friday with a doubleheader to wrap up the series at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports