OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Ole Miss (13-3) grabbed an early lead against in-state foe Southern Miss (9-10) Sunday night but some uncharacteristic play in the third led to five Golden Eagle runs, building a wall the Rebels were unable to climb over in the final game of the Ole Miss Classic.
Kaitlin Lee took her first loss of the season, adding a blemish to her eight wins on the year. The senior got through the first two frames unscathed but didn't have her normal stuff in the third, allowing five runs before being lifted for freshman Anna Borgen.
Borgen got things back on track with 4.1 scoreless frames but by then the Rebels had built a deficit they couldn't come back from. Ole Miss managed just five hits in the game, two off the bat of senior Paige McKinney.
The Rebels took a one-run lead in the second as Alex Schneider led off with a walk before McKinney drove a two-out triple into the right-center gap to bring the senior first baseman home.
The momentum didn't last long, though. After the Golden Eagles tied the ball game with an RBI single up the middle by Destini Brown, Lee was able to get the second out on a grounder to catcher Autumn Gillespie. However, USM followed with four-straight singles to bring in four runs and chase the Rebel ace. After tossing a wild pitch to score the fifth run of the frame, Borgen settled down and retired the side but the damage had been done at that point.
The Rebels pulled a run closer in the sixth when McKinney brought Amanda Roth home with a ground ball to second but the rally ended there.
The Rebels won't have to dwell on the defeat for long, jumping right back into action on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a mid-week clash with Boston College. The game will be televised nationally on the SEC Network, with Matt Schick and Kayla Braud on the call. Following Tuesday's game, Ole Miss opens SEC play March 9-11 at Texas A&M.