Feb. 15, 2017
OM Notes - Rawlings Classic
Games 5-9 - Rawlings Classic (Hosted by Houston)
Dates: Feb. 17-19, 2017
Opponents: No. 4 Oklahoma, Houston, Incarnate Word, Rhode Island
Location: Houston, Texas
Venue: Cougar Softball Stadium (1,200)
Dimensions: L-200, C-200, R-200
TV: Stream only for Houston game (see below)
Live stats: UHCougars.com
Twitter Updates: @OleMissSoftball
Tournament Schedule & Game Coverage
Friday, Feb. 17
2 p.m. CT: Ole Miss vs. No. 4 Oklahoma | Live Stats
7 p.m. CT: Ole Miss at Houston | Live Stats | Watch Live ($)
Saturday, Feb. 18
11:30 a.m. CT: Incarnate Word vs. Ole Miss | Live Stats
2 p.m. CT: Ole Miss vs. Rhode Island | Live Stats
Sunday, Feb. 19
10:30 a.m.: Rhode Island vs. Ole Miss | Live Stats
Oklahoma Series: OU leads 5-0
Last Meeting: May 22, 2016
No. 3 Oklahoma won 3-0
Houston Series: UH leads 4-0
Last Meeting: Feb. 10, 2007
Houston won 2-1
Incarnate Word: Never met
Rhode Island: Ole Miss leads 1-0
Last Meeting: March 7, 2010
Ole Miss won 7-2
- Ole Miss heads west again for the second-straight week to play in the Rawlings Classic for the first time in school history.
- After going 3-1 at the Easton Invitational in Fullerton, California last week, the Rebels continue to receive votes in both the NFCA and USA Softball Polls.
- The Rebels open the weekend against No. 4 Oklahoma, in what will be a rematch from the 2016 NCAA Norman Regional final.
- Ole Miss will face Houston for the first time since 2007, and take on Rhode Island for just the second time in program history (2010). The Rebels have never played Incarnate Word.
- Friday's matchup with No. 4 Oklahoma is the first of many with ranked teams, as 10 of Ole Miss' opponents are in the top 25.
- The trip to The Lone Star State marks a trip home for three Rebel players (Dominique Salinas, Kennedy Legg, Alex Schneider), as well as Associate Head Coach Ruben Felix.
- Nine Rebels made their debut in California, including three position players who started all four contests, as well as two pitchers.
- Ole Miss' pitching staff allowed just one earned run at the Easton Invitational, totaling a 0.27 team ERA, fifth-best in the SEC and eighth in the NCAA. Four pitchers combined for three complete games and two shutouts, holding opponents to a .167 average.
- JUCO transfer Kaitlin Lee got the opening-day start and tossed a one-hitter, and freshman Morgan Bruce started the final contest allowing only three hits and one unearned run in her debut.
- Freshman Alyssa Gonzalez started in just one game in California, but came up big with a team-best five RBI in six at-bats.
- As a team the Rebels are 9-for-9 in stolen bases and rank 24th in the NCAA averaging 2.25 per game.
No. 4 Oklahoma, the 2016 WCWS Champions, take a 2-2 record into the weekend at the Rawlings Classic. Led by 27th-year head coach Patty Gasso, the Sooners became just the fourth team since 1995 to be a unanimous No. 1 in the NFCA preseason poll, receiving all 32 first-place votes. Fresh off a trip to Mexico for the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, the Sooners finished the tournament 2-2 with wins over BYU (7-1) and Nebraska (6-0). In a rematch of the 2016 national title game, OU fell to No. 2 Auburn, 3-2, in the season opener, and also dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 13 Washington. In the circle, the Sooners are led by Missouri transfer Paige Lowary (1-1, 1.75 ERA), and two-time All-American Paige Parker (1-1, 1.17 ERA). At the plate thus far, OU is hitting .245 as a team, led by Caleigh Clifton's .500 clip, and a .385 average from Nicole Pendley.
The host Cougars, led by first-year head coach Kristin Vesely, finished the 2016 campaign 27-29 overall and 9-9 in AAC play. Fresh off its first of two-straight home tournaments, Houston sits at 2-4 on the year after picking up victories over UC Santa Barbara (14-2) and Boston College (7-3). Through six games in last weekend's Hilton Plaza Invitational, the Cougars have a 4.10 team ERA and .321 team average. Five pitchers saw time in the circle last weekend, led by a team-high 12 frames from Savannah Heebner (1-1, 4.67 ERA). Trystan Melancon has the club's lowest ERA at a 3.11, while opponents are averaging a .325 clip against Houston pitchers. Maya Thomas' .588 average leads the team, while Shelby Miller clubbed four home runs totaling 12 RBI in opening weekend for a .368 clip
Incarnate Word, a team that finished 2016 18-34 overall and 7-20 in Southland Conference action, heads into the Rawlings Classic with a 2-3 record after playing in Louisiana Tech's tournament a week ago. Through five contests, the Cardinals have a team ERA of 3.38, and were held to a team batting average of .172 in their opening tournament. In the circle, Kristin Hebert's 1.50 ERA leads the team, Sarah Leal ranks second with a 2.25. Danielle Ramirez is the team's early leader in RBI with three.
Rhode Island, a member of the Atlantic 10 with a 12-32 overall record in 2016, officially opens its 2017 season this weekend at the Rawlings Classic. Marylynn Muldowney, the club's leading hitter in 2016 (.301), returns for the Rams, while three of the four pitchers from last season return, including Becca Rogers (9-10, 4.03 ERA).
OLE MISS PICKED 10th in SEC PRESEASON POLL
Ole Miss was picked 10th in the 2017 Preseason SEC Softball Poll. A year ago, the league's head coaches picked the Rebels 12th in the poll, before they went on to finish ninth with an 11-13 record. Ole Miss shocked the league taking at least one game in 7-of-8 weekend series, including one sweep (Arkansas) and four series wins.
Texas is the third-most represented state on the 2017 roster behind California (7) and Mississippi (4), with three Rebels hailing from The Lone Star State. Those players include freshmen OF Dominique Salinas (Corpus Christi) and C Kennedy Legg (Keller), and junior 1B Alex Schneider (Southlake). In terms of total enrollment on campus, Texas is the second-most represented state overall behind only Mississippi. Associate Head Coach Ruben Felix, a native of El Paso, has an extensive history of playing and coaching baseball in the state of Texas.
- Oklahoma freshman RHP Melanie Olmos and Ole Miss OF Allison Stark and 1B/3B Gabby Alvarez hail from Riverside, California. Olmos attended Grand Terrace HS, while Stark and Alvarez both attended MLK, Jr. HS.
- Ole Miss RHP/OF Brittany Finney is a transfer from reigning national champion Oklahoma, where she appeared in nine games with a 1.12 ERA for the Sooners.
- Houston junior OF Kaylin Crumpton and Ole Miss 3B/1B Dakota Matiko were high school teammates at Santiago HS in Corona, California/
- Incarnate Word freshman 2B/SS Jaylin Olivarez and Ole Miss OF Dominique Salinas both hail from Corpus Christi, Texas. Salinas attended Richard King HS, while Olivarez attended Mary Carroll HS.
NINE REBELS MAKE THEIR DEBUT IN CALIFORNIA
Of the 22 players who made the trip to California for the Easton Invitational, all saw the field including nine newcomers who made their debut in a Rebel uniform. Freshmen Kaylee Horton and Dylinn Stancil started all four contests at second and third base, respectively, while Oklahoma transfer Brittany Finney split time at designated player and first base starting in all four games. Alyssa Gonzalez saw time in three games and started once (DP), and holds the team lead early on with five RBI. Pitchers Kaitlin Lee and Morgan Bruce combined for two wins in the circle helping Ole Miss to a 0.27 team ERA, and Kennedy Legg, Allison Stark and Dominique Salinas also all made their college debut.
Ole Miss heads to Florida next weekend (Feb. 24-26) for the Stetson Invitational in DeLand, Florida, where they will take on No. 20 South Florida, Colgate and Stetson.
For all Ole Miss Softball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball, on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball and on Instagram at Instagram.com/olemisssoftball. Fans can also follow head coach Mike Smith on Twitter at @msmithsb16. Additionally fans can get a behind the scenes look at Ole Miss Athletics on Snapchat under the handle, @WeAreOleMiss.