Tied at five in the bottom of the seventh, Aynslie Furbush called game, smashing a walk-off three-run home run to help Ole Miss softball win the series opener 8-5 with No. 21 Texas A&M Friday night at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
The Rebels (27-19, 6-10 SEC) picked up their third straight conference victory with another thrilling performance. Rain forced both teams to push first pitch back to 8 p.m. CT, setting up a late-night duel. Lexie Brady had a strong offensive showing, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Mikayla Allee and Furbush both launched home runs in the victory too.
It was a total team effort in the circle as four Rebel arms combined to keep the Aggie offense at bay. Makenna Kliethermes got the start and passed the ball off to Catelyn Riley before Furbush threw an inning in relief. Grace Sparks tossed the final 1.1 innings to earn the victory, her fourth of the season.
Both teams threatened in the first inning, stranding two runners on base. Ole Miss got on the board first in the bottom of the second after Allee led off the inning with her second home run of the season, a solo shot, to straightaway center field. Texas A&M, however, answered quickly in the next frame, loading the bases and walking in the tying run.
All evened up at one apiece, Ole Miss strung together three hits and took advantage of an Aggie miscue to plate two runs. Keila Kamoku led off the inning with a double. Just when it looked like Texas A&M was going to work around the leadoff hit, Jalia Lassiter chopped a single back to the pitcher, who made an errant throw, allowing Kamoku to score. Brady continued the rally, ripping a double down the right field line to tack on another run and put the Rebels back up 3-1.
Ole Miss continued to add to its lead in the fourth. Back-to-back errors by Texas A&M helped the Rebels score an unearned run and extend the margin to three runs, but the Aggies fought back and erased the deficit in the fifth. Four hits, including a three-run home run, gave Texas A&M its first lead of the game.
The Rebels quickly went back to work on offense in the bottom half of the inning and tied things back up. Lassiter reached on a fielder’s choice and took second on a passed ball. Standing in scoring position, she scored easily on a single from Brady to make it a 5-5 game.
Texas A&M had an opportunity to retake the lead with runners on the corners and two outs, but Sparks worked out of the jam and retired the side in order in the seventh to give her team a chance.
Looking to walk off the Aggies, Allee and Brady were hit by pitches. With the winning run on second and two away, Furbush barreled up a 1-1 pitch and blasted a no-doubter to left center field to help the Rebels take game one of the series 8-5.
Ole Miss looks to lock up the series with Texas A&M on Saturday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT. Fans who are unable to attend can catch the Rebels on SEC Network.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports