OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - A Brittany Finney double in the first inning gave Ole Miss a 1-0 lead and that was all the help Kaitlin Lee would need in a dominating performance in the circle. Nonetheless, Ole Miss tacked on late to defeat No. 5 Georgia 5-0 Saturday afternoon at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
The win clinches the series for the Rebels (30-21, 7-16 SEC), the first SEC series victory of the season for Ole Miss. It is also the first conference series defeat of the year for the Bulldogs (42-10, 15-8 SEC).
Prior to the start of play, the Rebels honored seven players competing in their final series in Oxford for Senior Day, celebrating the careers of Bry Castro, Alyssa Clayton, Elantra Cox, Elisha Jahnke, Lee, Paige McKinney and Alex Schneider.
Lee was nothing short of sensational on the rubber. The Gulfport native tossed her fourth complete-game shutout of the season and 13th of her career, assuming sole possession of third place in the Rebel record book. Lee held the dangerous Georgia offense to just five hits, striking out a pair to improve to 16-10 on the year.
The Rebels struck early in the game, with Kylan Becker drawing a walk before Finney slugged an Amanda Ablan offering into the left-center gap for a double, allowing the speedy Becker to motor around all the way from first to open scoring.
That was all the offense the game saw until the Rebels added some insurance in the fifth. With two runners in scoring position, Becker laid down an RBI squeeze bunt to plate McKinney and was safe on an errant throw to first. Ole Miss tacked on another run as pinch-runner Jessica Puk came across on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 3-0.
The Rebels plated two more in the sixth as Kaylee Horton scored on an error by Georgia shortstop Alyssa DiCarlo and Amanda Roth followed with a single to left field, bringing in McKinney for her fourth RBI of the series.
The added support was all well and good but with the form Lee was in in the circle it was all window dressing. The senior worked around a pair of baserunners in the final frame to finish the deal and bring the Rebels one step closer to the SEC Tournament.
The Rebels can clinch a spot in the upcoming tournament in Columbia, Missouri with a win in the series finale on Sunday or a Missouri loss to Florida in the final game of their series.
Ole Miss will go for the sweep of the fifth-ranked Bulldogs on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network +.
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