Rebel softbal wins with walk-off ahead of LSU series

Published 10:38 pm Sunday, May 7, 2023

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OXFORD. – Playing their final game ever at the Ole Miss Softball Complex before it’s torn down, Mya Stevenson’s RBI double capped off a four-run seventh-inning rally as the Rebels walked off No. 14 Alabama Sunday afternoon.

“I was just really excited to do it for the super seniors and everyone here,” said Stevenson. “This is the last game ever played at this field, so I’m just really happy to do this for everyone that came before us.”

The Rebels (29-25, 7-16 SEC) never lost faith as they entered the bottom of the seventh trailing by three runs. Anyslie Furbush and Keila Kamoku kickstarted the rally, launching back-to-back home runs and forcing the Crimson Tide (38-17, 14-10 SEC) to make a pitching change.

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Representing the tying run, freshman Jalia Lassiter  stepped to the plate against three-time All-American Montana Fouts. Like the night before, she utilized her speed and dropped down a perfect bunt. Tate Whitley followed and hit the ball sharply at the first baseman, who opted to throw to second in an attempt to catch Lassiter, but both runners reached safely. With the go-ahead run now at first, Paige Smith ripped a single right back up the middle to knot things up at four, and fifth-year senior Mya Stevenson capped off the Rebels’ Senior Weekend festivities with a walk-off double to win the game in front of a packed crowd.

“We’re just so happy,” said head coach Jamie Trachsel. “For our last game of the regular season, our super seniors on this field, to come back and win. Couldn’t be more happy for everybody, especially after the heartbreak last night. We earned it and I think this is going to be a great step for us going into the conference tournament and hopefully when we earn postseason play.”

Catelyn Riley got the ball to start in the circle for the second consecutive day, going 3.1 innings and only allowing two runs. She then handed the ball off to Makenna Kliethermes for an inning before Furbush went the final 2.2 innings and picked up the victory. It was a total team effort offensively as eight different Rebels recorded hits, led by Savana Sikes, who went 3-for-3.

Alabama struck first in the second, taking advantage of a leadoff double and an RBI single. Sikes and the Rebels quickly answered in the bottom half of the inning as the fifth-year senior crushed her first home run in an Ole Miss uniform.

The Crimson Tide, however, retook the lead in the fourth, using a double and a home run to go up 3-1. Ole Miss looked to respond in the bottom half of the inning after Sikes and Mikayla Allee registered back-to-back hits and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, but a strikeout ended the threat.

Furbush took over in the circle in the fifth inning after Alabama scratched another run across. She limited the damage and helped keep it a 4-1 ballgame. Still battling, Sikes registered a two-out single for her third hit of the day in the sixth, but the Rebels were unable to extend the inning.

Down to its final three outs and trailing by three, Furbush and Kamoku crushed back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh, giving the Rebels life. Lassiter, Whitley and Smith all reached base to put the pressure on the Tide. With a chance to walk-off No. 14 Alabama, Stevenson took the second pitch from Fouts and drove it into the gap in left to help Ole Miss complete a four-run comeback.

Sunday’s win caps off the careers of eight seniors in Oxford. The end of an era in more ways than one, it also marked the 608th and final game to ever be played at the Ole Miss Softball Complex which has served as the Rebels home field since 1998.

Ole Miss earned the No. 11 seed at the 2023 SEC Softball Tournament and will take on No. 6 seed LSU. The Rebels will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to begin postseason play Wednesday, May 10 at 10 a.m. CT on SEC Network.