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Ole Miss, MSU softball split Friday doubleheader

The series will be decided Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

Posted: Apr 19, 2019 8:58 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2019 9:57 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics/MSU Athletics) - Ole Miss and Mississippi State each took one end of their doubleheader on Friday, with the Rebel offense putting up historic numbers in the first game but struggling to come up with the timely hits in Game Two at Nusz Park.

Ole Miss dismantled MSU in the first game of the day, hanging a crooked number in every inning on the way to a 21-0 victory. The Bulldogs responded with a 6-0 win in the nightcap.

The 21 runs scored in the opener were the most ever in a conference game and just two shy of the all-time record of 23. Meanwhile, all 21 runs were scored with an RBI, tying the all-time program-record. On the other side, the loss was the largest margin of defeat in MSU-history as well as the most runs and hits the Bulldogs have ever allowed.

10 Different Rebels registered a hit, including multi-hit games from Abbey Latham, Autumn Gillespie, Kaylee Hortonand Amanda Roth. Roth clobbered three doubles in the game, tied for the most in a single game in school-history. 10 players posted at least one RBI, including five apiece for Puk and Roth, tied for the team-high this season.

Brittany Finney earned her 12th win in the circle, throwing three scoreless innings with just one hit allowed. Of the nine outs the senior collected, six came via a strikeout. Ava Tillmann finished things off, surrendering just a pair of walks in two complete with two strikeouts.

The Rebels jumped all over the Bulldogs right from the word go. After Kylan Becker reached on an error to lead things off, Puk tattooed a pitch to straight-away center for a two-run shot and from there, the route was on. Roth smoked her first double to the left field fence with the bases loaded to score a pair, pushing the lead to four for the Rebels.

An HBP for Tate Whitley re-loaded the bases, leaving nowhere to put Mikayla Allee after her walk. Latham followed with an infield single to bring Whitley across and Puk put the cherry on top with a bases-clearing triple to right-center, putting the Rebel lead at nine runs after one half inning of play.

After Finney quickly set down MSU in their first trip to the plate, the Rebels got right back to work. Gillespie opened the second frame with a solo shot the opposite way to right field, with a pair of HBPs putting runners on for Ole Miss. Becker delivered a double to center to bring in Roth and Latham singled home two more to push the lead to 13-0.

In the third, Roth drilled a double to the left field wall to bring Finney around from second, with Whitley following with an RBI single to center to score Horton. Gabby Alvarez came in to pinch hit and rounded out scoring with an infield single to short, plating Roth.

After a Finney walk and a Gillespie double got the Rebs rolling in the fourth, Horton punched a single through the right side to bring Finney in and Roth brought the score to 19-0 at the end of four with her third double of the day, scoring both runners.

Katelin Cooper finished out scoring for the game in the fifth, cashing in her first career hit for a triple to right-center, bringing home Puk and Ally Mena. The Rebels finished things off in the bottom half, turning a 6-3 double play to bring the run-rule into effect.

In game two of Friday’s doubleheader, Mississippi State responded quickly in the bottom of the first. Heimberger led off the inning with a triple to right center before coming home on junior Fa Leilua’s sacrifice fly to center, her third sac fly of the season.

The Bulldogs broke open the game in the bottom of the second, Denis led off the inning with a bunt single to first base before redshirt sophomore Montana Davidson singled to center to put two on board for senior Sarai Niu.

Niu sent a pitch back up the middle to pick up an RBI. Senior Bevia Robinson laid down a bunt single in front of home plate to load the bases for the top of the order. Heimberger singled through the right side to drive in two runs. The Rebels would turn an inning-ending double play, but Robinson scored from third before the final out was made to extend MSU’s lead to 5-0.

The final run of the contest came in the bottom of the fifth. After senior Kat Moore reached safely with a single to left, freshman Anna Kate Segars found a hole through the right side for her first hit in Southeastern Conference play and first career RBI.

Sophomore Emily Williams was the hero in the circle for State as she improved to 9-6 on the season with her fourth complete-game shutout. Over seven innings, Williams allowed four walks and four hits, while striking out seven. She forced seven fly outs and six ground outs to keep the Rebels off the board and even up the series.

Saturday’s series finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch on the SEC Network +. Following the game, Mississippi State will honor its 2019 senior class of Bevia Robinson, Kat Moore, Emily Heimberger, Sarai Niu and Taylor Kelly in a special post-game ceremony.

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