COLUMBIA, S.C. - Ole Miss softball capped off the series sweep of South Carolina with a 3-0 shutout Sunday afternoon at the Carolina Softball Stadium.
Backed by strong pitching and patience at the plate, the Rebels (33-14, 8-10 SEC) secured their first road sweep of the season over the Gamecocks (25-24, 2-16 SEC). It marks Ole Miss' first sweep of a conference opponent on the road since taking all three games from Arkansas in 2015.
Both pitchers set the tone early, locking in for another pitcher's duel. Catelyn Riley and South Carolina's Leah Powell made their second appearances in the circle on the weekend. Riley was light's out, throwing five solid innings, only allowing five hits. Aynslie Furbush and Anna Borgen combined to close out the Rebels' 12th shutout of the year.
Cruising through the first two frames, the Gamecocks threatened in the third. After a leadoff single, Keila Kamoku erased the lead runner, making an athletic play at second base, dragging her foot over the base as she extended past the bag to catch the throw from third base on a fielder's choice. However, a walk and a single loaded the bases with two outs. Riley remained calm and snared a comebacker to the circle to leave them stranded.
Ole Miss tallied a pair of singles in the fourth but was unable to get anything going until the fifth inning. Mikayla Allee and KK Esparza were both hit by pitches to start the inning. South Carolina was able to record two quick outs but then began to struggle to find the zone, walking three consecutive batters leading to two runs for the Rebels.
The Gamecocks had an opportunity to get on the board in the bottom of the fifth, following a one-out base hit, but the Ole Miss defense held strong. South Carolina's catcher doubled off the wall, but the relay throw from Tate Whitley to Allee to Esparza was in time to gun down the runner at the plate.
Leading off the top of the seventh, Latham added an insurance run. The senior launched a moonshot over the extended netting in left and onto the track to make it 3-0.
South Carolina looked to make things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with one out. Ole Miss turned to Borgen, who only needed three pitches to get a four-six-three double play to end the game.
Ole Miss is back in action with a short road trip up to Memphis for a midweek contest Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT.