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Ole Miss hands No. 2 LSU their first loss of the season



Ole Miss softball
Ole Miss softball team: Photo from Twitter

BATON ROUGE, La. – A career night for Jalia Lassiter and a gem from Makenna Kliethermes helped Ole Miss softball shock No. 2 LSU 5-2, handing the last undefeated team in the nation its first loss of the season Sunday night at Tiger Park.

The Rebels (19-8, 2-3 SEC) picked up the highest ranked win of the Jamie Trachsel Era and first win over a top-three opponent since beating No. 3 Oregon 1-0 in nine innings on February 17, 2018. They rallied back from a two-run deficit, scoring five unanswered runs to upset the Tigers (24-1, 4-1 SEC).

Lassiter led the offense at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a career-high two doubles, a run scored and two RBI in the seventh inning, which proved to be the dagger. Jaden Pone and Lexie Brady also delivered clutch hits in the sixth inning to tie the game at two. Taylor Malvin, Delaney Rummell and Ryan Starr all scored the go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of three LSU errors in the frame.

Kliethermes went toe-to-toe with one of the best pitchers in the nation in Sydney Berzon. She allowed only two runs, one of which came unearned, over 6.1 innings pitched to win her ninth decision. Catelyn Riley came in to record the final two outs of the game, slamming the door shut on the Tigers and picking up her second save of the season.

Lassiter led off the game, slicing the third pitch of the game down the line for a leadoff double, but the Tigers’ ace kept her at second to keep Ole Miss from striking first. The Rebels traded zeroes with LSU in the first after Brady tossed out her seventh runner this season, and Kliethermes capped it off with a swinging strikeout to strand two runners.

The Tigers took the lead on a sacrifice fly in the second. A standup double and a passed ball allowed the base runner to get to third and score on a lineout to center to make it 1-0. They tacked on another run in the fourth after back-to-back singles to start the inning put runners on the corners with no outs, and a sacrifice fly plated LSU’s second run of the game.

In the circle, Berzon had retired 17 in a row until Lassiter stepped up to the plate. Trailing by two runs, the Rebels rallied back in the sixth inning to tie things up with the Tigers. Lassiter led the charge with a two-out double to kickstart the rally. The speedster scored the very next play, sliding around the tag at the plate as Jaden Pone chopped a single over the shortstop’s head to score the first run of the game. Lexie Brady followed with a single off the wall in right to plate the tying run in Pone.

With the momentum on Ole Miss’ side, three LSU errors aided the cause in the seventh. An infield single and a fielding error put the first two batters aboard to start the inning. The Tigers managed to get a quick out and keep the runners at bay until Starr hit a dribbler to the third baseman that was bobbled and then thrown away as she looked to catch the lead runner at third. Malvin, who pinch ran for Jamie Mackay, took advantage of the miscue and scored the go-ahead run.

Back to the top of the order, Lassiter ripped a two-run single back up the middle to add two more runs and put the Tigers on the ropes.

Kliethermes came back out for the bottom of the seventh inning and recorded one out. She passed the ball off the Riley with runners on the corners. The junior righty closed out the game needing only five pitched to induce a pair of groundouts and help Ole Miss upset No. 2 LSU.

The Rebels look to take the rubber match and win the series in Baton Rouge against No. 2 LSU on Monday, March 18, at 6 p.m. on SEC Network.



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