Latham's grand slam lifts Ole Miss past South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Abbey Latham's second-inning grand slam lifted Ole Miss softball past South Carolina 8-3 Friday night at Carolina Softball Stadium.
Despite a hot start from South Carolina (25-22, 2-14 SEC), the Rebels (31-14, 6-10 SEC) were able to storm back to take control of the game in the second inning. Tate Whitley paced the team with a 3-for-5 night at the plate. She scored a pair of the Rebels' runs and drove in another.
The first four Gamecocks reached base in the bottom of the first inning, giving South Carolina an early 3-0 lead on a bases-clearing double. Catelyn Riley took over in the circle for Diederich to get the Rebels out of the inning.
Ole Miss wouldn't trail for long, responding with five of its own runs in the second. Paige Smith walked to lead off the inning, and after two quick outs, the Rebels started to rally. Keila Kamoku was patient at the plate, watching four balls to take a free pass. Whitley then notched her second hit of the afternoon to drive in the Rebels' first run. Another two-out four-pitch walk to Bre Roper loaded the bases for Abbey Latham, who made the most of her at-bat. The program record holder in RBIs added four more to her tally, launching a no-doubter over the wall in left center for her third career grand slam.
In the circle, Riley began to cruise with the help of the Rebel defense. She threw 6.1 innings, only allowing three hits to the Gamecocks and striking out four batters. The freshman stranded runners in three different innings to keep South Carolina from gaining any momentum.
Sydney Gutierrez and Mikayla Allee tacked on insurance runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pad the Ole Miss lead. Gutierrez knocked in Whitley with an RBI single through the right side, and Allee, who was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an overthrow stealing third.
Kamoku delivered the dagger in the top of the seventh, driving in the eighth run of the ballgame, and Aynslie Furbush slammed the door in the bottom half, recording the final two outs.
The Rebels are back in action tomorrow as they look to secure the series over South Carolina. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on national television on SEC Network.
• Abbey Latham recorded her third straight game with a home run, crushing a grand slam in the second inning. It was the third grand slam of her career.
• Tate Whitley registered three hits in a game for the ninth time this season.