Ole Miss softball was unable to dig itself out of an early four-run deficit as No. 21 Texas A&M evened the series with a 6-2 victory Saturday afternoon at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
The Rebels’ (27-20, 6-11 SEC) first-inning hiccup was the difference as Texas A&M (28-17, 9-11 SEC) grabbed an early 4-0 lead and hung on the rest of the way. Paige Smith went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of singles and an RBI. Mya Stevenson tallied the other Ole Miss run with her 12thhome run of the year, moving her into a tie for the third most in a single season in program history. Makenna Kliethermes threw five solid innings in relief, striking out eight batters and only allowing two unearned runs.
Ole Miss and Grace Sparks ran into trouble in the first. The first three Aggie batters reached, loading the bases on a single, hit by pitch and walk, and Texas A&M opened up a four-run lead with an RBI single and a bases-clearing double. Kliethermes took over in the circle and minimized the damage with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
Texas A&M threatened again after a few scoreless frames, but Kliethermes and the defense held strong to strand the bases loaded. Sikes thwarted the Aggies’ squeeze attempt and Kliethermes took care of the rest freezing consecutive batters at the plate.
Mya Stevenson got Ole Miss on the board in the bottom of the third with a solo shot to left field. The Rebels continued to rally, cutting the lead in half. Tate Whitley walked, advanced two bases on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by Paige Smith to make it a 4-2 game.
The Aggies restored their four-run lead in the fourth, taking advantage of a Rebel miscue and scratching across two unearned runs on a double.
Ole Miss had an opportunity to continue to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the fifth with runners in scoring position. Smith singled up the middle and Keila Kamoku doubled off the wall in left field with two outs, but the Rebels were unable to come away with runs.
Aynslie Furbush came in to pitch in the sixth and shut down the A&M offense. She kept the Aggies off the board in the final two frames, giving Ole Miss a chance to climb back into the contest. Jalia Lassiter launched a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, but unfortunately, Ole Miss couldn’t complete the comeback.
The Rebels and Aggies will face off with the series on the line Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports