Auburn, Ala. — Pitcher Jenee Loree scattered four hits and did not allow an earned run as the No. 22/23 Auburn softball team defeated Ole Miss 4-1 in the series opener Friday night at Jane B Moore Field.
Auburn improved to 27-4 overall and 7-2 in the Southeastern Conference. The Rebels dropped to 11-23 overall and 1-8 in the SEC. The teams play again Saturday with a 1 p.m. CT start time.
Loree (8-2) started and threw her sixth complete game of the season. Loree allowed one unearned run with two walks and six strikeouts. Loree retired eight of the first nine hitters of the game, with only one hitter reaching on an Auburn error with one out in the first inning. Three of Ole Miss' four hits were infield singles.
Brittany Barnhill (1-9) started and took the loss, going two innings and allowing four runs, two earned, on five hits with five walks and no strikeouts. Lindsey Perry pitched the final four innings, allowing just one walk and striking out four.
Katie Colton ignited an Auburn scoring rally in the second inning. Elizabeth Eisterhold singled to right to open the frame for the Tigers and was lifted for pinch-runner Baylee Stephens. Stephens moved into scoring position when she stole second and came in to score on Colton's single to right-center that gave Auburn a 1-0 lead.
Colton quickly stole second and then took third on a ground out to second by Morgan Estell. Kyndall White drew a walk to put runners on first and third. With two outs, Lauren Guzman followed with a ground ball that first baseman Erinn Jayjohn booted, allowing Colton to score and White to take third. Colton's run gave Auburn a 2-0 lead.
Still in the second, Guzman broke for second but was chased back to first, during the rundown White stole home for the third run of the inning. Following a walk to Amber Harrison, Kelsey Cartwright lined out to third to end the inning with the Tigers holding a 3-0 lead.
Eisterhold made it a 4-0 advantage for the Tigers with an RBI single in the third inning. Kelley Smiley doubled down the line in left to open the Auburn half of the inning and came in to score on Eisterhold's second single of the game.
Ole Miss took advantage of an Auburn error to score a run in the top of the fourth. RT Cantillo singled in the hole at short to open the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt. After a strike out for the second out of the inning, Natalie Nimmo singled to third, but Kyndall White's throw to first was wild and allowed Cantillo to score, making it a 4-1 game.
Loree would hold the Rebels to just the one run, as she retired the side in order in the fifth inning. The Rebels worked a pair of one-out walks in the sixth inning, but Loree recovered with a strikeout and a ground out to end the scoring threat.
In the seventh inning, Ole Miss got consecutive singles to open the inning but Guzman turned an exceptional double-play, diving for a line out and flipping to second for a force out to squash any potential rally.