PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - Ole Miss (6-2) picked up a pair of big wins Saturday at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, defeating Rutgers in the morning and coming back for a prime-time, nine-inning thriller over No. 3 Oregon in front of a packed house at Nancy Almaraz Stadium.
Kaitlin Lee was named tournament MVP after defeating Texas in the opener and shutting down a powerful Oregon offense. Joining Lee on the all-tournament team were junior Kylan Becker and freshman Abbey Latham.
Game One | Ole Miss 9, Rutgers 1
The Rebels jumped all over the Scarlet Knights in the morning game, scoring in each of the first three innings. In the end, Ole Miss would score enough runs to end the game early, tallying the first run-rule victory of the season at 9-1.
Freshman Anna Borgen garnered her first-ever collegiate win, making the start in the circle and firing five innings. The lefty tossed four scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out one.
Celeste Wood and Alex Schneider notched back-to-back two-out singles in the opening frame and Abbey Latham brought both around to score with a double into the gap in left-center.
In the second, Paige McKinney used her speed to tack on a run for Ole Miss. The senior legged out an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and came home to score on an Ally Mena groundout.
Ole Miss again capitalized on Rutgers' mistakes in the third. Celeste Wood laced a hard-hit ball to center field and beat out the throw in to second for a hustle double. The junior scored shortly thereafter, taking third on a passed ball and coming across when the throw down to the bag sailed high. Two batters later, Latham provided some fireworks with a towering blast over the left field fence, the first long ball of the freshman's career.
The fourth provided no runs but the Rebs were right back at it in the fifth. After Wood reached on a throwing error at third base, Alex Schneider continued her hot start to the season with another well hit ball, providing enough power to carry over the wall in left-center for a two-run blast.
The Scarlet Knights got on the board in the home half of the fifth but once again Ole Miss had an answer. McKinney got the sixth started by slapping a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kylan Becker brought her fellow lefty around to score, tagging a ball through the right side and advancing two bases on an error in right field. Moments later, Becker scored herself as Wood knocked an infield-single to second.
After making her season-debut with a relief appearance in the sixth, Alyssa Clayton closed things out in the seventh. Rutgers threatened to score with two runners on but the Rebels slammed the door shut with a double play on a liner to short, doubling off the runner at second.
Game Two | Ole Miss 1, Oregon 0
In a pitchers' duel for the ages, Lee came out on top. The senior tossed nine complete innings, keeping the potent Oregon offense to four hits in a shutout effort, striking out five.
Lee breezed through the first three innings, retiring the Ducks in order. She nearly got through the fourth unscathed as well but Shannon Rhodes broke the streak with a single up the middle. Schneider used some slick glove work to retire the side, diving to her right to make the grab and diving back to her left to tag the base.
With Ducks starter Megan Kleist matching Lee pitch-for-pitch, the Rebels' first 11 batters were retired before Wood reached on an infield single. She advanced to second on a wild pitch but was stranded in scoring position.
With neither team able to cash in on what little opportunities they had to score runs, the game extended into extra innings, bringing the International Tiebreaker into effect.
Neither team was able to push a run across in the eighth, setting up some dramatics in the ninth. The fun began in the top half, when Oregon put two runners in scoring position for the ever-dangerous Gwen Svekis. Lee, however, was undeterred, inducing a groundout to McKinney at short to close out the frame.
McKinney was then placed on second to begin the home half, with Elantra Cox digging in with one away. The senior came up in the clutch, slapping a single up the middle to score McKinney for the walk off. Not only did the base knock score the winning run, but tied the center fielder for the program-record for hits in a career.