Ole Miss Defeats Villanova in NCAA Softball Championship Opening Round

The Rebels Hold the Wildcats to 4 Hits in Their 5 – 1 Victory

May 21, 2021 –

The Villanova Wildcats softball team appeared in the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history. Villanova met Mississippi in the opening round in Tucson, AZ. Ole Miss won their opening round game for the fifth consecutive tournament behind a 3-hit performance by Anna Borgen. Wildcats starter Paige Rauch gave up 4 runs in 4 innings of work in taking the loss. Villanova goes to the elimination round and will play the loser of the #11 seeded Arizona Wildcats game with the UMBC Retrievers.

The Cats took a lead in the game getting a run in the third inning. Rauch, who also lead the team in hitting and RBI’s knocked home center fielder Sydney Hayes with a solid single to right on a 1 – 2 pitch. Hayes was on second after she and left fielder Dani Dabrowski got infield hits to set up Rauch. Villanova would get only one more hit for the rest of the game.

Borgen struck out 3 over six innings pitched. She threw 96 pitches, 70 for strikes allowing 4 Wildcats to reach base.

Ole Miss struck back in the bottom of the inning when right fielder Abbey Latham doubled home catcher Autumn Gillespie to tie the score. The Rebels took control in the bottom of the 4th. Ole Miss loaded the bases. With two outs third baseman Paige Smith singled to left plating shortstop Mikayla Allee and second baseman Blaise Biringer. A single by Gillespie sent center fielder Tate Whitley home to take a 4 – 1 lead.

The Rebels added another run in the fifth, unearned, off Wildcats hurler Anissa Amarillas when pinch runner Kelsha Loftin crossed the plate off a passed ball for the 5 – 1 lead.

Villanova got their final hit as third baseman Chloe Smith singled to right to start the seventh inning. Mississippi reliever Ava Tillmann started the inning and finished the game with a strike out and a double play.

Smith went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI’s to lead Ole Miss. Gillespie went 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

Rauch (20 – 4) threw 84 pitches, 52 for strikes. She survived a first inning when 2 Rebels were on, but she battled through and allowed no runs.

Nova, champions of the Big East, stands at 36 – 14 on the season. If it is to continue they need a win in the next game. The next loss ends the season.

Written By: Glenn Papazian

Contact: Glenn@PhillyCollegeSports.com

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