OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Entering Sunday's game with no more than two innings in an appearance, No. 22 Ole Miss (15-9, 1-5 SEC) turned to freshman Ava Tillmann for the start in the circle against No. 17 South Carolina (24-4, 2-1 SEC). The moved paid off as Tillmann threw a gem of a game to lead the Rebels to a 1-0 win in the series finale.
The righty freshman went the distance in the game, allowing just three hits and a walk, racking up six strikeouts in the complete game shutout.
The Gamecocks put forth their biggest threat in the second inning, starting off the frame with an infield single and a walk to put two runners on with no outs. Tillman and the crew buckled up from there, working around a one-out HBP to strand the bases loaded.
While Carolina missed out on an opportunity to score in the second, Ole Miss countered by manufacturing what turned out to be the lone run of the game. Kylan Becker executed the high-hop to perfection to get things started as the leadoff, lifting the ball over the third baseman's head for a single.
With one out on the board, Becker took off for second and advanced to third when the throw down sailed high. Paige McKinney drew a two-out walk and attempted a steal herself. With Becker running on the throw, McKinney's slide broke up the tag at second, allowing Becker to score.
With a lead in hand, Tillmann retired 15 of the next 16 batters for South Carolina. The Gamecocks did manage a two-out single in the seventh but the Cedartown, Georgia native was able to fan Alexis Lindsey for the third out, collecting her first collegiate win and the first victory in SEC play for the Rebels.
Ole Miss returns to action on Tuesday, making the short trip north to take on the Memphis Tigers. The Rebels and Tigers are set to face off at 5 p.m., with the contest being streamed on the Memphis Tiger Network.
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