• 70°

Ole Miss softball ousts Long Beach State, advances to Tempe Regional finals

Timely hitting has been a struggle for Ole Miss throughout the season, but Abbey Latham couldn’t have picked a much better time to deliver.

After five and a half innings scoreless innings, Latham doubled home the decisive run to help the Rebels keep their season alive with a 1-0 win over Long Beach State late Saturday night in an elimination game in the Tempe Regional. The win put Ole Miss in Sunday’s regional finals, where the Rebels will have to beat host Arizona State twice to win the tournament and advance to the super regionals.

Ole Miss (32-24) dropped into the loser’s bracket with a 7-1 loss to the Sun Devils earlier in the day. Sunday’s game will start at 8:30 p.m. CT with a second game to be played immediately after if necessary.

Kaitlin Lee (18-13) went the distance to notch the win for Ole Miss, matching Long Beach State’s Jessica Flores (11-3) in putting up zeros until the bottom of the sixth. Kylan Becker got one of the Rebels’ three hits against Flores with a leadoff single and moved to second on a passed ball.

A groundout and a lineout kept Becker at second before Latham, who had two home runs in Ole Miss’ first win over Long Beach State (43-14) on Friday, lined Flores’ two-strike offering to the gap in right-center to break the scoreless tie. The teams combined to go just 3-for-22 with runners on and 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Lee retired three of the four batters she faced in the seventh to send the Rebels to their second straight regional finals appearance, scattering eight hits, walking none and striking out one for the game. Long Beach State’s biggest threat came a half inning after three singles loaded the bases with one out, but Lee got Julia Lombardi to hit a tapper back to her to start an inning-ending double play.