Ole Miss Softball Mounts Comeback, Clips South Alabama in Extras

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 13, 2021

OXFORD, Miss. – Erasing an early 4-0 deficit, Ole Miss (15-7) mounted a comeback Wednesday night to stay perfect at home, defeating South Alabama (10-8) in a dramatic 6-5 ball game in eight innings at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.

Anna Borgen was the pitcher of record, extending her scoreless innings streak to 24 to improve to 5-0 on the season. The left hander retired all three batters she faced, striking out one. Savannah Diederich took a no-decision after making the start, while Ava Tillmann allowed one run in 4.2 innings of relief.

The Jaguars struck early, plating three runs in the second inning off of a leadoff home run from Kennedy Cronan and a two-run double off the bat of Meredith Keel. The Rebels had a chance to strike right back in the second but stranded the bases loaded and Kamdyn Kvistad added a fourth USA run the following inning on a solo shot to left.

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Down but not out, the Rebels went to work to get back into things. Following a pair of singles in the fifth, Paige Smith launched a no-doubt bomb to straight-away center field, scoring three runs and cutting the deficit to a single run.

The comeback continued the following inning, as Autumn Gillespie walked and Jessica Puk followed with a single to put a pair of runners on. Mikayla Allee grounded into a fielder’s choice at third but the throw down to second was wild, carrying all the way past the right fielder and allowing Puk to come home and tie the game. Shortly after, Kelsha Loftin delivered a clutch RBI single up the middle to push Ole Miss ahead 5-4.

However, South Alabama had comeback plans of its own, with back-to-back pinch hitters coming through with a single and an RBI double to deadlock the score at five runs apiece and force extra innings.

After a quiet eight frame from the Jaguars, Ole Miss quickly loaded the bases with nobody out on singles from Gillespie and Puk and an Allee HBP. With the game on the line, Ole Miss turned to freshman Aynslie Furbush to pinch hit and the rookie delivered, watching ball four to drive home the winning run in Gillespie.

Quick Hits 
• Picking up the win in the circle, Anna Borgen became the first Rebel ever to start a season 5-0. The senior also moved into sole possession of third all-time with a 24-inning scoreless streak.
• Borgen has not allowed a run in any of her last five appearances, ranking second in the SEC with a 0.49 ERA.
• The win was the first of the season for Ole Miss when trailing heading into the sixth inning
• Paige Smith took over sole possession of the team lead for home runs with her sixth of the season. The homer also extended the sophomore’s hitting streak to seven games.
• Smith’s garnered three RBI’s to rank third on the team, while Aynslie Furbush, who drove in the winning run with a walk, tied Jessica Puk for the team lead.
• The Rebels, the nation’s leader in HBPs, were plunked a season-high four times on Wednesday.

Up Next
Ole Miss begins SEC play with a marquee matchup at the Ole Miss Softball Complex, taking on Mississippi State in a three-game series Saturday through Monday. All three games will be broadcasted on national TV on the SEC Network.

For all Ole Miss softball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball, on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball and on Instagram at Instagram.com/olemisssoftball. Also, follow head coach Jamie Trachsel on Twitter at @Jamie_Trachsel.