PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Ole Miss (4-2) surrendered an early two-run lead to Houston (4-2) on day two of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge and were unable to come back, falling to the Cougars 6-0.
Brittany Finney took her second loss of the season after making the start. The junior allowed three runs on six hits in her two innings. Morgan Bruce threw 4.2 innings in relief, giving up three runs on nine hits. Freshman Ava Tillmann made her Rebel debut, closing out the final out of the seventh.
The Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first frame thanks to RBI singles off the bats of Maya Thomas and Tierrah Williams. Finney was able to limit the damage, stranding the bases loaded.
Finney's day lasted into the third inning, when Sarah Queen led off with a double, leading to a pitching change with Bruce coming on in relief. After a groundout allowed Queen to advance to third, she came home on a passed ball off the glove of Autumn Gillespie.
Ole Miss' opportunity to score may have been the fourth inning, when Abbey Latham drew a two-out walk and Gillespie singed up the middle. However, Ally Mena was unable to cash in, popping up to second.
The Rebels also nearly broke up the shutout in the sixth as well. Latham dropped a double down the left line but was left stranded after Gillespie's hard liner was smothered by the first baseman for an unassisted out.
The Cougars added three runs in the seventh to quell any thoughts of some late-game dramatics and UH pitcher Savannah Heebner closed out the game with a relief appearance in the bottom half.
Ole Miss will look to bounce back on Saturday, taking on Rutgers at 11 a.m. and No. 3 Oregon at 8 p.m. to close out its stay at Nancy Almaraz Stadium.