GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Playing into the early hours of the morning, Ole Miss softball utilized a six-run third inning to take down No. 18 Georgia 9-5 in the opening round of the SEC Tournament at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Ole Miss (39-16, 12-12 SEC) won its third straight game against the Bulldogs, capitalizing on 10 walks and timely hitting. The Rebels' nine runs mark their most scored in a conference tournament game in program history.
After shutting down Georgia on Sunday in the regular season finale, Anna Borgen threw 4.2 innings in relief to earn the victory. Mikayla Allee reached base in all four of her at-bats, including a two-RBI double.
Both teams stranded runners through the first two frames as Brooke Vestal and Georgia's Madison Kerpics worked clean innings. Whitley played a big part in keeping the Bulldogs off the board, robbing a home run at the wall in left.
Georgia did, however, strike first, hitting a solo home run in the third. They added another run after a double came around to score as Borgen came into the game.
Batting around the order, the Rebels responded with six runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. With a runner on, Abbey Latham hit a moon shot to left to even the score at two. Sydney Gutierrez continued the rally with a single back up the middle and scored on an RBI double in the gap from Paige Smith after the call at the plate was overturned.
With the lead, they proceeded to tack on three more in the inning. After walking, Keila Kamoku and Paige Smith scored on a two-out double from Allee. She capped off the six-run inning, crossing the plate on a single from KK Esparza.
Back out in the circle, Borgen continued to come up clutch for the Rebels. She escaped a jam with two Bulldogs in scoring position, winning a 16-pitch battle at the plate with a strikeout. Ole Miss carried that momentum into the home half of the inning, breaking the game open. With two on, Aynslie Furbush blasted a three-run home run, her third of the season, to make it a 9-2 ball game.
The Bulldogs didn't go away quietly. They loaded the based and scratched across three runs in the top of the fifth to close the gap. Borgen worked a quiet sixth inning, thanks to a diving catch in center field by Nyomi Jones that saved a run. Down to their final three outs, Georgia loaded the bases, but the Ole Miss defense held strong, earning its seventh-ever SEC Tournament win.
The Rebels are back in action in the Quarterfinals of the SEC Softball Tournament. They'll take on the regular season champs Arkansas, Thursday at 6:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network.