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Columbia, Missouri

Kamoku goes yard, Rebels persevere in extras vs. Mizzou

224 days ago
Ole Miss Athletics

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Keila Kamoku's ninth-inning home run helped Ole Miss softball top Missouri 7-5 and take the series Monday night at the Mizzou Softball Complex.

Playing with the series on the line, the Rebels (26-19, 5-10 SEC) battled back and forth with Missouri (25-20, 4-14 SEC) late into the night. Mya Stevenson and Kamoku blasted huge home runs, and four Rebel arms combined to help Ole Miss win its first SEC series of the year.

After Ole Miss threatened in the first inning with runners on the corners, Missouri quickly scored the game's first run after the Tiger's leadoff hitter doubled, stole third and advanced home on a throwing error. Makenna Kliethermes remained composed in the circle and got the three outs she needed to minimize the damage and sent the Rebels back to the plate.

Stevenson and Brady helped Ole Miss even the score the following inning. Stevenson roped a double for her 199th career hit, and Lexie Brady drove her in two pitches later, smashing a double off the wall left field wall.

All square heading into the bottom of the second, the Rebels made an incredible defensive stand with two runners in scoring position. Kliethermes recorded a huge strikeout for the first out, Savana Sikes sniffed out the safety squeeze and made a diving play at the plate to prevent Mizzou from adding to its lead, and Kliethermes snared a tapper back to the circle to escape unscathed.

Following a quiet third inning from both sides, Ole Miss made some noise in the fourth. Mikayla Allee worked a one-out walk, and Jalia Lassiter dropped down a bunt for an infield single to bring Stevenson to the plate. Looking to do some damage, the fifth-year senior and NCAA active career leader in home runs fittingly blasted one to left center for her 200th career hit.

Mizzou led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot to pull back within two runs and force the Rebels to go to the bullpen. Catelyn Riley took over in the circle and stranded a runner to get out of the inning.

Ole Miss got the run back in the top of the fifth. Paige Smith doubled down the line and was replaced by Tenly Grisham on the basepaths. The freshman speedster stole third base and swiped home on a passed ball to make it a 5-2 game.

The Tigers wouldn't go away easily. Missouri capitalized on back-to-back walks, tying the game with an RBI double and triple. Tied at five, Grace Sparks pitched a clean sixth inning and passed the ball off to Brooke Vestal for the seventh. Vestal worked around baserunners in the seventh and eighth innings to keep Missouri at bay. Brady caught a runner stealing to end the seventh, and Vestal picked up a huge swinging strikeout to cap off the eighth.

Looking to rally in extras, Tate Whitley led off the ninth inning with a bunt single and was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt from Sikes. After the Tigers got a big out, Kamoku stepped to the plate and delivered the knockout punch with a two-run home run to left.

Vestal came back out for the bottom of the ninth and retired the side in order, slamming to door shut on Missouri and clinching the series for Ole Miss with a 7-5 victory.

Up Next

The Rebels travel back to Oxford for a series with No. 21 Texas A&M April 21-23.