OXFORD – History was made as Ole Miss defeated North Carolina 7-2 on Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the Oxford Regional.
The win advances the Rebels (43-18) to an NCAA Super Regional for the first time.
North Carolina ended its season at 40-21.
“I’m so excited for our program, these ladies, the community of Oxford. It’s been an electric year,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Smith.
“I want to say to North Carolina they put up a fight. What a great team they have.
“We’re just excited here in Oxford, not only to have hosted, but to win it here, and now to have a shot at getting to the College World Series. We’re just two wins away from playing in Oklahoma City. Who would have thought three years ago this is where we’d be.”
Ole Miss will visit UCLA (45-13), the winner of the Los Angeles Regional, in the Super Regional starting Thursday.
The Bruins defeated Cal State Fullerton 9-1 on Sunday for their sixth victory in a row.
After three innings Sunday, Ole Miss looked like it had found its Kryptonite.
The Rebels trailed North Carolina 2-0, marking the first time they had found themselves on the short end of a score through their entire postseason run.
Then things quickly got back on track. The Rebels touched the Tar Heels for two runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game on RBI singles off the bats of Miranda Strother and Brittany Finney.
Ole Miss took the lead, 4-2, in the sixth inning, on one swing of Finney’s bat.
The Rebel center fielder launched a towering 2-run homer over the left field wall that would put the host team up for good.
“I was just looking for a pitch to hit,” Finney said. “I just swung at a strike. It was an inside pitch and I just took the most of it.”
The Rebels added three runs in the seventh to put a bow on things.
Kaitlin Lee (23-10) was her usual stellar self after a shaky start.
The Tar Heels touched the Ole Miss ace for four hits and two runs in the first two innings before the junior settled in.
Lee only allowed one hit through her final five innings of work.