OXFORD, Miss. (WLBT) - Entering Sunday, the No. 7 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns had been defeated just four times in 56 games. With No. 17 Ole Miss needing a pair of wins on the day, the Rebels got the job done, earning a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals for the second time in program-history.
After securing a 5-1 win in the early game, Ole Miss needed some magic heading into the bottom of the seventh trailing 4-3. Kaylee Horton delivered in the clutch, slapping a high-hop with the bases loaded to send Kylan Becker across the plate and send the Rebels into a matchup with No. 6 Arizona in Tucson.
The Rebels and Wildcats will play a best-of-three series in the Desert, with the winner earning a spot in the 2019 Women’s College World Series. Dates and times for the Super Regional have yet to be determined.
The winning-run was one of three on the day for Becker, who went 4-for-7 at the plate in her last two games in Oxford. With her first run in the night cap, the senior broke the Ole Miss single season record for runs, her 52nd of the year.
Game One | Ole Miss 5, Louisiana 1 Ole Miss punched first and never looked back, using a five-run third inning to force a winner-take-all game with a 5-1 victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns, ending the nation’s longest active winning streak at 29 games.
For the second time during the regional, Molly Jacobsen had the Ragin’ Cajuns number. This time, however, the lefty would get the win, scattering six hits for one unearned run while racking up eight strikeouts.
After a pair of scoreless frames, the Rebels opened things up in the third. Mikayla Allee got the fun started in loud fashion, taking Louisiana ace Summer Ellyson deep to left field for a solo homer. Kylan Becker followed with a bunt and when the throw to first went awry, the senior turned on the jets and came all the way around to score and double the Ole Miss advantage.
Abbey Latham kept things rolling with a blast of her own, taking a pitch the other way for a solo bomb to right. After a walk and a single, Horton smoked a triple to center, clearing the bases and putting Ole Miss up 5-0.
An error at first base allowed the Ragin’ Cajuns to draw a run closer but that was all that Jacobsen would allow, carrying the Rebels to the win and forcing a crucial seventh game of the regional.
Game Two | Ole Miss 5, Louisiana 4 After surrendering an early lead over the Ragin’ Cajuns, Ole Miss stormed back in the bottom of the seventh, walking off with a 5-4 victory to secure a spot in the Super Regional round.
Brittany Finney garnered the victory, starting and ultimately re-entering in the sixth. The senior threw 6.0 innings in total, allowing two runs on five hits with three strikeouts. Molly Jacobsen tossed one inning of relief, allowing three hits for a pair of runs.
Ole Miss struck early, tagging Ellyson for a pair of runs in the opening frame. Gabby Alvarez got things started, smacking a single off of Ellyson’s glove and through the right side of the infield to score Becker. Jessica Puk tacked on another run to double the lead, bringing home Gillespie with a single to left. Horton made the Rebel lead three in the third, singling home Latham.
Louisiana struck back in the fifth to tie the game on Raina O’Neal’s three run home run to left field. One inning later, the Ragin’ Cajuns took the lead as Julie Rawls scored on a wild pitch.
With their season on the brink, the Rebels rallied. Allee got momentum rolling with a leadoff double to center field, with Katelin Cooper coming in to run for her fellow freshman. After an infield single by Becker, Cooper beat the tag home to tie the game on Gillespie’s squeeze bunt.
Alvarez reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases, bringing up Horton at the crucial juncture. The junior came through with a clutch fielder’s choice, sending the Ole Miss Softball Complex into a frenzy and the Rebels to their second-ever Super Regional.