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Rebels leave Hawaii with Classic title

HONOLULU — Ole Miss softball run-ruled its early opponent St. Mary’s, 10-2, and came from behind in dramatic fashion defeating Hawaii, 6-5 Saturday afternoon, winning the 2016 Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic at Rainbow Wahine Stadium.

The Rebels got solid pitching from senior Madi Osias in game one, who went five innings with just two runs allowed, and got offensive help from senior Natalie Martinez who had a 4-for-4 day with four RBI, junior catcher Courtney Syrett, who launched a 2-run blast, and junior Raven Campos, who walked off with the 2-run shot to left-center.

In game two, the Rebels took an early 2-0 lead, but Hawaii responded with four runs of its own clinging to a 4-2 lead. However, a late surge and rally from the Rebels ultimately earned them the victory and the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic Championship. See below for full recaps from each game.

The Rebels ended a strong performance in dramatic fashion, run-ruling the Gaels in six innings in game one on the day.

Both sides traded scoring early, as St. Mary’s took advantage of an early triple and wild pitch, while Martinez punched an RBI single through the middle to even the contest at 1-1 through one.

The Rebels got the bats going for good in the third, batting through the lineup. Freshman Kylan Becker got it started with a dribbler to first before Hailey Lunderman shot a hard single through the middle. After she was out at second on a fielders choice, Martinez drove Becker and Strother home on a 2-RBI single up the middle making it a 3-1 game.

Sophomore Paige McKinney kept it going when she stole second, then took home on a double steal increasing the advantage to 4-1. That setup Syrett’s 2-run blast to left-center field capping the 5-run frame.

The Rebels added another insurance run in the fourth when Strother drove Lunderman home on a sacrifice fly, but the Gaels got it back in the next half off a solo shot to left field.

With a comfortable 7-2 advantage, sophomore JUCO transfer Elisha Jahnke made her Division I debut in strong fashion, getting two strikeouts to start, before inducing a groundout to third to cap a clean frame.

Game 2
Sophomore first baseman Alex Schneider had the game-changing play in the seventh, belting a 3-run home run to left field to tie the game at 5-5, forcing extra innings.

Lunderman got the seventh started, and after Strother was hit by a pitch, it was Schneider’s no-doubt home run to left field that gave the Rebels new life against the tournament host Rainbow Wahine.

Hawaii got the potential game-winning run to third in the home half of the seventh, but sophomore Kayla Landwehrmier shut down the attack and got a swinging strikeout, sending the game to international tiebreaker rules.

Haley Culley began the eighth on second, and Dakota Matiko did her job, placing a perfect sacrifice bunt pushing Culley to third. That’s when freshman Ashton Lampton was called on, and she delivered, roping an RBI single up the middle scoring the go-ahead run.