Ole Miss was able to secure a 1-0 win against Central Arkansas Tuesday night after 12 hard-fought innings. The score was deadlocked at zero throughout the entire game before a walk-off single by Miranda Strother.
Kaitlin Lee started in the circle and threw another complete game for Ole Miss. She was practically unhittable through five innings, allowing only one hit from the first batter she faced. Lee threw to 16 more batters before giving up her second hit in the sixth inning.
“Kaitlin Lee pitched a heck of a ball game,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith said. “She’s picking us up big time in the circle.”
In the sixth inning, Central Arkansas connected on a foul ball that the umpire controversially ruled fair. Mike Smith furiously stormed the diamond to argue the call.
“It was a foul,” Smith said. “I was disappointed with the umpire. You can’t make that type of call unless you’re 100 percent sure.”
The game was gridlocked at zero for all seven innings before heading to extras. Ole Miss finished the game with 15 hits overall but went a dismal 5-21 with runners on base.
“Offensively, I’m very disappointed,” Smith said. “We had 15 hits and only scored one run. That’s not good.”
Elantra Cox was impressive throughout the evening, finishing the game 5-6 at the plate and also scoring the winning run. Cox is currently hitting .500 on the year, good enough for second in the SEC. She also ranks in the top five nationally for batting averages.
“She’s going to do whatever it takes to win,” Strother said. “Whenever she gets up there, I expect her to get on base every single time. Her going 5-6 doesn’t surprise me.”
On Tuesday, Lee became the first Ole Miss pitcher to throw more than 10 innings in a game since 2012, with a pitch count of 172. The 12-inning marathon went down as the third longest game in Ole Miss softball history.
“I’m here to pick up the team whenever they’re down,” Lee said. “When our hits aren’t on, it’s my job to pick them up and help them out.”
In the bottom of the 12th inning, the Rebels had runners on first and second with one out. Miranda Strother came up big when it counted with a walk-off single to bring Elantra Cox home for the winning run.
“I messed up last time. I just told myself, ‘You got this,’” Strother said. “I was so excited. Twelve innings is a long game, and I knew that Kaitlin’s arm couldn’t take much more.”
The Rebels now prepare for a three-game away series with Auburn this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday.