STARKVILLE, MS (WLBT) - In one of the finer pitching duels you could ever hope to see, Brittany Finney and Emily Williams battled back-and-forth all day long at Nusz Park Saturday. In the end, Ole Miss (33-12, 11-6 SEC) came out on top, defeating Mississippi State (27-19, 4-14 SEC) 3-1 in eight innings to capture its fifth SEC series of the season.
One day after limiting the Bulldogs to a single hit, Finney was once again electric. The senior tossed seven innings of shutout ball to keep the Rebels in things, ultimately allowing one run on six hits, striking out five over eight frames.
The Rebels put a runner in scoring position in each of the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings but each time were unable to come up with the timely hit the crack the scoreboard. Meanwhile, MSU threatened to score in the second and third frames with a runner on second but both times Finney was able to get out of danger.
With neither team able to scrap together enough offense to break the scoreless tie through seven, the game headed into extras, where the Rebels would prevail.
After Mikayla Allee got the eighth started with a double down the left field line, the inning was extended on an error at third base for MSU and Ole Miss took advantage. Facing her Bulldog counterpart, Finney wond a long battle with Williams, fouling off six-straight pitches in a 14-pitch at-bat to draw a walk and put ducks on the pond for Autumn Gillespie.
The Rebel backstop took the second pitch she saw hard up the middle and past the outstretched glove of MSU shortstop Bevia Robinson for a double, clearing the bases and putting three Rebel runs on the board.
The Bulldogs pulled a run closer in the bottom half on a solo home run by Mia Davidson and went on to put the tying run on-base but as she had done all day long, Finney came through, inducing a groundout to second to seal the win and the series for the Rebs. With their 11th SEC victory of the season, Ole Miss has tied the program-record for conference wins.
Winners of 25 of their last 31 games, the Rebels will look to keep things rolling in the final non-conference game of the season on Wednesday, hosting Southern Miss at 6 p.m. CT at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
• The five SEC series wins is a program-record for Ole Miss, never having previously won more than three in a single season.
• The 11 league wins ties the program-record, matching the SEC victories racked up by the Rebels during the 2016 season.
• In 11 total innings over the weekend, Brittany Finney allowed just one run with 11 strikeouts recorded.
• The Rebels became the first team this season to hold MSU slugger Fa Leilua hitless for a series.