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Ole Miss softball falls in regular-season finale

The Rebel softball team fell behind early and dropped its regular season finale, 11-1, to No. 9 Tennessee Sunday afternoon at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.

It was a bittersweet ending for seniors Madi Osias, Natalie Martinez, Melina Preciado, Bri Payne, Alyssa Invergo and Haley Culley, who were all honored pregame as part of Senior Day festivities for their contributions to the program over the last four years.

Sunday’s finale started out much like the first two games of the series after both teams scored in the second to play an even contest early on, but big innings in the third, fourth and fifth proved to be the difference for the Tennessee offense.

Dakota Matiko was responsible for the Rebels’ lone RBI off her single in the second, while Elantra Cox added the team’s other hit in the third.

Osias worked 3.1 innings in the circle in her 24th start of the season and was tagged with just her seventh loss, while Elisha Jahnke entered in relief for the final 1.2 frames for the Rebels.

Tennessee scored first in the second off a solo home run to right field from Shaliyah Geathers, before Ole Miss evened it back up a half inning later off Matiko’s RBI single that scored Ashton Lampton.

SEC tourney up next

After completion of the regular season, Ole Miss has earned the No. 9 seed for the SEC Softball Tournament set to open Wednesday at Nusz Park in Starkville.

The Rebels will open play against No. 8 seed Georgia at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The winner of the 8/9 game will advance on to play No. 1 seed Florida at 4 p.m. Thursday.