Ole Miss explosive bats lead to sweep of doubleheader
LAKE CHARLES, La. - Led by a big day at the plate, Ole Miss softball swept the competition on the final day of the Cowgirl Classic at Joe Miller Field.
The Rebels (9-5, 0-0 SEC) racked up 24 hits over the course of both games, including seven for extra bases. In the circle, Brooke Vestal and Makenna Kliethermes were stellar, tossing complete games over Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State, respectively.
GAME ONE: OLE MISS 8, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 1
Ole Miss powered itself past SFA 8-1, backed by 12 hits, including a pair of home runs by Mya Stevenson. Vestal spun a gem, striking out a season-high nine batters in her second victory of the year.
Nyomi Jones led off the ball game with a single, but the Ladyjacks were quick to collect two outs. With the end of the inning in sight for SFA, the Rebels had other ideas. Keila Kamoku walked, and Paige Smith hit the first of three straight singles to open the scoring. Natalie Ray and Mikayla Allee each knocked singles through the left side to put Ole Miss up 3-0 early.
The Rebs continued to pour it on in the second, adding three runs on back-to-back home runs from Stevenson and Kamoku doubled the lead. Two innings later, Stevenson stepped back up to the plate with Savana Sikes on second and launched her second bomb of the game to push the lead to eight.
SFA got one back in the bottom of the fourth inning on a leadoff solo home run, but Vestal kept the Ladyjacks in check the remainder of the way. She was lights out the rest of the way, not allowing a hit in the final three frames.
GAME TWO: OLE MISS 7, MCNEESE 2
The Rebels used a strong first inning for the second day in a row to knock off the host McNeese State, 7-2, to close out its stay at the Cowgirl Classic. Ole Miss finished with 12 hits for the second game in a row, led by four Rebels who tallied multi-hit days at the plate. In the circle, Kliethermes went the distance, only allowing four hits and striking out six batters.
Ole Miss put up a four spot in the first inning, nearly batting through the order. Smith drove in a run on a fielder's choice to get the Rebs on the board after the first three batters of the game reached. Furbush and Allee followed with a single and double, respectively, clearing the bases.
The offense stayed hot in the second, adding two more runs. Kamoku singled with Sikes on first to put a pair of runners on base for Smith for the second straight inning. Once again, she delivered, with an RBI single to right that also scored Kamoku on a fielding error.
With a six-run cushion heading into the bottom of the second, Kliethermes kept the Cowgirl hitters on their toes. She kept them off the scoreboard until the fifth inning, when they strung together three hits and cashed them in for two runs.
Sikes and the Rebels got one back in the sixth, executing the double steal with runners on the corners to push the lead to 7-2. Kliethermes trotted back out for the final two innings of the game, stranding three more runners in the complete game effort.
Ole Miss is back in action taking on Louisiana on the road Monday at 5:30 p.m. CT.