For the first time since 2012, Ole Miss (16-7, 2-1 SEC) has started SEC play with a series win after handing No. 14 Arkansas (19-5, 1-2 SEC) a 6-2 defeat Monday night at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
The victory came thanks in large part to an excellent showing by the tandem of Molly Jacobsen and Brittany Finney in the circle, holding the Razorbacks without a single earned run. Jacobsen earned the win after throwing 4.1 innings in the start, allowing a pair of unearned runs on four hits with six strikeouts. Finney came on in relief and retired all seven batters she faced, plus one extra, in 2.2 frames.
After Jacobsen and Arkansas starter Autumn Storms traded three up, three down innings in the first, the Rebels got to work in the second. Autumn Gillespie got the inning started, reaching on an error, and Amanda Roth followed with a walk. After both runners advanced on a passed ball, Kaylee Horton slapped a single up the middle, bringing both runners home to put the Rebs up after two complete.
Ole Miss tacked on two more in the third to extend its lead to four. Following an infield single from Kylan Becker, Abbey Latham ripped a single through the right side, moving up to second on the throw as Becker hustled to third. Becker was brought home on Jessica Puk’s sacrifice fly and Latham came home during the next at-bat on a throwing error.
Taking advantage of a Rebel error on the leadoff, the Razorbacks cut the deficit in half with a pair of unearned runs in the fourth. The damage could have been much greater, but Jacobsen was able to strand the bases loaded with a nasty off-speed pitch, inducing a swinging strike three to close the frame.
Finney got one of those runs right back for the Rebels in loud fashion, taking the first offering from Storms cannoning over the center field wall for a solo shot, her team-high sixth of the year.
The Razorbacks threatened to do more damage in the fifth, touching Jacobsen for a one-out single and a walk. Head coach Mike Smith made the call to the bullpen to bring in Finney and the move paid off as the senior rolled a ground ball for a 6-4-3 double play to retire the side.
The top of the order teamed up to restore the four-run cushion for the Rebels in the bottom half of the fifth, as Kylan Becker walked on four pitches and Abbey Latham brought her all the way around with a double off the wall in center.
After Finney breezed through the sixth, Becker erased any thoughts of budding momentum for Arkansas in the final frame, leaping high against the wall in center to rob Taylor Greene of a home run. During the next at-bat, Finney caught Linnie Malkin looking to clinch the series for Ole Miss.
Courtesy of Ole Miss SportsHERE!