Rebel softball wins final games in tourney

Published 6:00 am Sunday, February 21, 2016

TROY, Ala. — Ole Miss softball won both of its Saturday games at the Troy Classic, defeating Eastern Illinois, 4-2, before topping Tennessee Tech, 8-5, at the Trojan Softball Complex.

With the wins, the Rebels move to 7-2 on the year and face Eastern Illinois again at noon Sunday to close out the tournament.

Ole Miss strung together three hits in the third and took a 1-0 advantage through three in Game 1. Courtney Syrett led off with a single into center, and Paige McKinney entered to pinch run stealing second. After Kylan Becker got on with an infield hit, Melina Preciado dropped a bloop single into shallow left field bringing home the first run.

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Eastern Illinois responded an inning later with a 2-run frame to take a 2-1 lead. The Panthers got a leadoff runner after a leadoff walk, and a double into the left-center gap brought her home.

Eastern Illinois scored again off a fielder’s choice to second making it 2-1 after four.

Hailey Lunderman tied the contest back up at 2-2 after an RBI single into left scoring Preciado.

After what looked like a promising chance in the sixth inning stranding two runners, the Rebels made up for it in the seventh thanks to a shot from Miranda Strother.

After Hailey Lunderman put down a perfect bunt with two outs to get the Rebels a baserunner, Strother roped a sinking line drive into center that got under the center fielder’s glove for an inside-the-park home run.

Strother finished the contest 1-for-3 with two RBI, while Preciado added an RBI off her 1-for-2 day at the plate. Elisha Jahnke went five innings in her first Division I start with two runs allowed, while Madi Osias entered to pitch the final two innings getting the win with just one hit allowed.

Game 2
The Rebels got the bats going in the fourth, when Preciado reached on a fielding error at third to make it a 1-0 game.

After two singles for the Rebels in the fifth, Martinez walked loading the bases for the Ole Miss offense. Ashton Lampton followed with a 2-RBI single up the middle making it a 3-0 game, before Courtney Syrett put down a sacrifice bunt for an RBI to make it 4-0.

Tennessee Tech cut the lead in half in the next half inning after a sacrifice fly to left scored a run, and a double pushed another run across to make it 4-2 halfway through the sixth.

Ole Miss took advantage of the Golden Eagle defense in the sixth when Martinez walked on a wild pitch, bringing home Miranda Strother and Lunderman. Lampton made her impact again in her next at-bat, launching a 2-run blast to left field capping the four-run frame.

Tennessee Tech went on to score three runs in the seventh, but the Rebels held off the potential comeback to claim the second win on the day.