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Ole Miss Softball Advances to Regional Final Against No. 15 Utah

Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

After falling to No. 15 Utah 7-1 in the first game of the day, Ole Miss softball bounced back with a dominant 9-2 showing over No. 18 Baylor to advance to the Salt Lake City Regional Final on Sunday.

GAME ONE: OLE MISS 1, UTAH 7 

Battling for a spot in the regional final, Ole Miss hung close with No. 15 national seed Utah until a sixth-inning rally broke things open. The Rebels fell 7-1 to the Utes, stranding seven runners on base. 

Playing as the designated home team, Ole Miss had threatened in the bottom of the first inning. Tate Whitley worked a walk, and Paige Smith and Savana Sikes were hit by pitches to load the bases with two outs, but the Utes got a strikeout to escape unscathed.

Utah got on the board first in the top of the second inning. A leadoff walk came around to score on an RBI groundout to score the first run of the game. The Rebels had a chance to answer in the bottom half of the inning after Mikayla Allee walked and Nyomi Jones singled with one out but came up emptyhanded.

Ole Miss evened the score at one in the third, continuing the make Utah’s ace work in the circle. With two outs, Sikes doubled down the line in right and scored after Keila Kamoku tripled in the gap. 

Even at one, Utah quickly retook the lead on a pair of sacrifice flies. The first two batters in the inning singled and then moved into scoring position on a double steal. Riley got two quick flyouts, but they came with a price as the Utes jumped back out to a 3-1 lead.

The Rebels turned to Makenna Kliethermes in the fifth inning, with Utah threatening again. She took over with a runner on first and one out, quickly retiring two batters to keep Ole Miss within striking distance. She ran into trouble in the sixth as the first two batters reached base, forcing a pitching change. Aynslie Furbush got the call out of the bullpen, but the dangerous Utah offense tacked her for four runs to break the game open.

Trying to climb back into the contest, Kamoku notched her second hit of the afternoon in the sixth, and Furbush singled in the seventh, but Ole Miss was unable to rally for any runs.

GAME TWO: OLE MISS 9, BAYLOR 2
A four-run first-inning explosion and a dominant outing from Catelyn Riley propelled Ole Miss softball into the Regional Final with a 9-2 win over No. 18 Baylor.

The Rebels came out swinging in the bottom of the first inning, hitting for the cycle as a team. Jalia Lassiter singled and stole second, but the Bears quickly got two outs. With a runner in scoring position, Lexie Brady kickstarted a two-out rally with an RBI triple. Sikes followed with a single the opposite way and scored as Kamoku crushed a moonshot into the night to make it a 4-0 game. Allee smacked a double to round out the cycle.

Riley continued to cruise in the circle in the second and third innings, working around a few base hits to keep Baylor off the board. Sikes and Brady added another run in the bottom of the third after Brady belted a leadoff double and scored on an RBI single from Sikes to push the lead to five.

Furbush took over in the fifth and set down the side. Baylor managed to scratch across two runs in the sixth inning to pull back within three on four hits, but Furbush and the defense limited the damage stranding two runners on base.

Ole Miss bookended the night with a four-run sixth. The Rebels took advantage of two Baylor errors to score a run and extend the inning. With the bases loaded, Smith sealed the deal with a three-RBI double to make it a 9-2 game, and Brooke Vestal closed out the seventh inning to help Ole Miss punch its ticket to the Regional Final.

The Rebels will square off against Utah on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT and 3:30 p.m. Ole Miss needs two wins over the host to advance to the Super Regionals.


Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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