OXFORD, MS (WLBT) - Making its home debut at the Ole Miss Softball Classic, the Rebels (11-6) got off to a strong start at the Ole Miss Classic on Friday, earning a pair of wins over Nicholls (10-9) and Pitt (2-14) thanks to solid work in the circle and plenty of timely hitting.
Game One | Ole Miss 6, Nicholls 0
Making her sixth start of the season, senior Brittany Finney was in control. The right completely shut the Nicholls (10-9) offense down in a shutout performance, allowing just three hits while striking out a career-high nine batters.
The Rebels got things going right away, with the first three batters of the game reaching to strike first. After Kylan Becker reached on an error and Abbey Latham singled, Jessica Puk slashed a single down the left field line to score a pair. A few batters later, Autumn Gillespie brought Puk home with a single to complete the three-run opening frame.
Ole Miss added another run in the second as Becker laid down a perfectly placed bunt for a single, allowing Tate Whitley to scoot home from first.
While Finney and the Rebel defense did work to keep the Colonels off the board, that was all the scoring Ole Miss would muster until the sixth. With Kaylee Horton and Alley Mena on-base, Becker smoked a double to right-center to plate both, pushing the lead to six runs.
Finney came back on in the seventh to strikeout the side, completing her second complete-game shutout of the season.
Game Two | Ole Miss 6, Pittsburgh 1
Pitching in front of the Rebel crowd for the first time in her career, junior Molly Jacobsen was on her game. The junior college product completed all seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits.
It took the Rebels a little longer to get rolling in the later game, waiting until the third to crack the scoreboard. With runners at first and second and two outs on the board, Gillespie hammered a triple to the wall in right-center to plate a pair before Kaylee Horton single to score the Rebel catcher.
After a pair of scoreless frames, the Rebels struck for three more in the sixth. Gillespie led off the frame with her second triple of the contest, lifting a deep ball down the right field line before Horton brought her in with a single up the middle. Taylor Watford singled and Tate Whitley followed with a sacrifice bunt, setting up Sydney Gutierrez’s scorched two-RBI single off the shortstop.
The Panthers cut the lead by a single run in the seventh on Morgan Batesole’s RBI single to right. However, Pitt tried to stretch it for another score unsuccessfully, with Horton firing to Puk to gun down the runner at the plate and end the game.
The Rebels will continue with two more games against Pittsburgh and Nicholls on Day Two of the Ole Miss Classic on Saturday, taking on the Panthers at 2 p.m. and the Colonels at 5 p.m. Both games will be streamed live via SEC Network +.
• Gillespie became just the second Rebel ever with two triples in the same game, matching the effort of Lauren Grill against Centenary in 2010.
• Becker extended her team-high reached base streak to 16 games, while Jessica Puk’s came to an end at 13 contests.
• The complete game shutout is the third of Brittany Finney’s career and her second this season. Finney also completed the feat earlier in the year at UCF.