OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss (25-13, 8-6 SEC) clinched its third-straight home SEC series on Saturday, coming out on top in a back-and-forth affair against South Carolina (19-15, 0-11 SEC) at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
Ava Tillmann picked up the win in relief, allowing one hit in 3.1 innings with a pair of strikeouts. Anna Borgen made the start, receiving a no decision after allowing five runs on seven hits, striking out five.
After the Gamecocks jumped ahead early on a Mackenzie Boesel solo home run in the first, Ole Miss responded immediately with a three spot in the home half. Sydney Gutierrez got the scoring started with an infield single, with Paige Smith coming home when the throw to first was dropped. Abbey Latham then lined out to center for a sacrifice to allow Jessica Puk to come in from third. Gabby Alvarez finished things off with a solid single the other way, bringing in Gutierrez.
South Carolina, however, had a bounce back in the them themselves, scoring two in the third on a Cayla Drotar home run to tie the game before taking the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth.
The deficit didn't last long, as Smith took an HBP to leadoff the bottom half, Nyomi Jones followed with a bunt single and both came around to score on Gutierrez's oppo taco to left center, tying the game at five runs apiece.
After the next two runners reached for the Rebs, Alvarez reclaimed the lead with a big hack, pummeling an offering over the center field fence for a three-run bomb to put Ole Miss up 8-5.
With the lead in hand, Tillmann controlled things the rest of the way. The Gamecocks built a threat in the seventh on the back of a couple of Rebel errors but Mikayla Allee was able to squeeze a soft line drive for the final out, locking up the win and the series.
• With the win, Ole Miss clinches it's eighth straight home SEC series win, having not dropped a conference series in Oxford since 2018.
• The 16 runs scored by the Rebels are the most in the first two games of an SEC series since defeating Mississippi State 21-0 in the first game of the series in 2019.
• Making her second start since February, Gabby Alvarez led Ole Miss with four RBIs in a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
• Going 3-for-4 Saturday, Sydney Gutierrez is 6-for-7 for the series, driving in three runs while scoring two herself.
• Ava Tillmann picked up her fifth-straight win in the circle, her first of the season in relief. The five game winning streak is tied for the fourth longest in program history.
Ole Miss will look to complete the sweep on Sunday, taking on South Carolina in the series finale at 1 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network +.