Collin Brister, Special To SuperTalk
Brittany Finney has taken the ball for the Rebels in essentially every game one of the weekend this season for the Rebels, and Mike Smith wasn’t going to change anything as the Rebels headed into postseason play.
He’s glad as he didn’t as Finney dominated Chattanooga over three innings, giving up no runs and striking out five over three innings pitched as the Rebels blew out the Mocs 12-0 in a shortened five-inning contest to send the Rebels to the winners bracket game against Louisiana-Lafayette tomorrow afternoon at 12 p.m.
“I feel incredible,” Finney said of the performance,” My team has my back so much. I feel so good when they go up there and crush the ball like they did.”
After retiring three consecutive Mocs, the Rebels went to the plate and catapulted themselves out to an early 6-0 lead behind a RBI triple from junior Kaylee Horton. Ole Miss exited the first inning with a 6-0 lead, and they would add five runs in the bottom of the second to extend the lead to 11-0.
“It was (a relief) to get off to that start,” Horton said. “I know that we were playing Ole Miss softball, so we just nee to keep it like that.”
The Rebels were paced at the plate by Amanda Roth, Tate Whitely and Horton. The bottom four hitters in the Rebels order went a collective 8-13 with nine RBIs.
“That’s part of where we’ve struggled a little bit, especially later on in the year,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith said.”
Ava Tillman threw the final two innings for the Rebels, relieving Finney once the game was out of reach. Smith said the experience was good for Tillman, as the Rebels will likely have to count on her at some point during the postseason.
“We talked about it early on about trying to get her some postseason experience,” Smith said. “That was huge for our offense to put up numbers like that to get Ava out there to feel comfortable out there.”
The Rebels won’t have much time to rest on their laurels, as they’ll take on a Louisiana Lafayette team that has only lost four games this season and have not lost since March 1, which was to No. 1 Oklahoma.
Molly Jacobsen will take the ball for the Rebels against ULL tomorrow afternoon as Smith wants to keep his pitchers on schedule.
“(ULL) really swings the bats,” Smith said. “They’re looking to take two bags right out of the box. Their pitcher has over 200 innings, and does predominantly most of their pitching. We know we’re going to be in for a dog fight. Hopefully it’s not as warm as it was today. We’re excited.”
“Molly is a little bit better matchup because of the changeup and how aggressive they are. I think Molly may be able to keep them a little bit more off balance.”
Should the Rebels win, they’ll advance to the championship game of the regional on Sunday afternoon. With a loss, the Rebels would turn around and play at 5 p.m. against the winner of Southeast Missouri State and Chattanooga.
Photo Credit: Ole Miss Athletics