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Ole Miss Softball Picks Up Wins Over Liberty And SIU In Mexico

Ole Miss softball took both games to open up the second session of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge on Thursday at Nancy Almaraz Flied. The Rebels (6-2) picked up a big win over Liberty in extra innings and came back to run-rule Southern Illinois in an offensive explosion in the nightcap.

GAME ONE: OLE MISS 3, Liberty 2 (8)

Aynslie Furbush took over, nearly single-handedly leading the Rebels to victory. The junior threw all 8.0 innings, striking out six batters on 110 pitches, and hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to walk off Liberty 3-2.

The Rebel defense and Furbush stranded 12 runners on base throughout the game, keeping the Flames off the board until the top of the seventh inning. They worked out of a big one-out bases loaded jam in the sixth inning, using back-to-back swinging strikeouts from Furbush to end the threat.

Ole Miss had opportunities early, but the Liberty defense made big plays, including robbing a pair of home runs from Mya Stevenson. The Rebels finally broke through on offense in the bottom half of the sixth. Jalia Lassiter walked on four straight pitches, and after the Flames recorded two outs, showed off her speed. The freshman swiped second base and advanced to third after the throw sailed into the outfield. With Lassiter 60 feet away from breaking the scoreless tie, Furbush drove a line drive over a leaping attempt by the Liberty first baseman to bring home the first run of the ball game.

Three outs away from victory, Liberty climbed back into the game. With two runners on and two outs, the Flames’ catcher hit a dribbler past Furbush that was bobbled and allowed the tying run to cross the plate.

Unable to score in the seventh, the game moved into extra innings, where the international tiebreaker was put into effect. Both teams began the inning with a runner on second base. Liberty doubled in the go-ahead run, but Furbush minimized the damage and sent her team back to the plate trailing by a run.

Being the last recorded out, Lassiter ran for the Rebels on second. Once again, she used her electric speed and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Savana Sikes to tie the game at two apiece. With tow-outs in the inning, Furbush stepped to the plate and blasted the 3-2 pitch over the wall in center field for the walk-off victory.

A nine-run second inning helped propel the Rebels to a run-rule victory over Southern Illinois to cap off a 2-0 day at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge. Grace Sparks and Makenna Kliethermes combined on Ole Miss’ second shutout of the season, going 2.0 and 3.0 innings, respectively.

After stranding two runners in the first inning, the Rebel offense went to work, quickly loading the bases on three consecutive singles. Ole Miss’ next three batters all walked in runs, and Natalie Ray, who made her first career start, made it 4-0 on a wild pitch.

Still threatening with no outs in the inning, Stevenson walked to reload the bases for Keila Kamoku. The Rebel second baseman jumped on a 2-0 pitch and smashed her first home run of the season and second career grand slam to double the lead. Mikayla Allee capped off the nine-run frame by doubling and scoring on an RBI single from Jamie Mackay.

The Rebels tacked on four more runs in the fourth. Furbush walked and was pinch run for by Tenly Grisham, who swiped a bag and scored on a base hit by Angelina DeLeonAnnie Orman followed with a pinch-hit single, and the two scored on a pinch-hit home run by sophomore Brooke Barnard.

Kliethermes closed out the game, striking out a season-high six batters along the way.

Ole Miss is back in action against Cal State Fullerton on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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