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Ole Miss softball’s season ends in Tempe Regional final

Ole Miss’ season ended short of a second straight super regional appearance.

Arizona State used an explosive first inning to set the tone for a 9-0 win to claim the Tempe Regional championship late Sunday night. The game was called after five innings because of an eight-run rule.

The Sun Devils (46-11), the No. 8 national seed, will travel to South Carolina next week for the Columbia Super Regional with the winner advancing to the Women’s College World Series. Meanwhile, Ole Miss’ season ended with a whimper.

The Rebels (32-25) fell behind 5-0 after an inning and never mustered a threat to catch up, finishing with just two hits. Ole Miss totaled eight hits and two runs in its final three tournament games.

Kaitlin Lee (18-14) allowed each of those runs on six hits in just one-third of an inning, the big blow coming on a three-run home run from DeNae Chatman. Arizona State, which went 2-0 against Ole Miss in the regional, added four more runs in the third against Ava Tillman, who allowed four hits and struck out one in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

Brittany Finney pitched a scoreless fourth, but Breanna Macha retired Ole Miss in order in the top of the fifth to end the game early and cap two innings of hitless relief. Giselle Juarez (24-4) retired nine of the 10 batters she faced after Kylan Becker’s leadoff double and struck out three in the first three innings to notch the win.

Paige McKinney had Ole Miss’ only other hit with a second-inning single.