GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Winners of 10 of its last 11 games, the Ole Miss softball team will open Southeastern Conference play Friday when it travels to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators (22-0) in a three-game series.
Ole Miss (14-7) will play at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by a 1 p.m. game Saturday and a 10 a.m. first pitch Sunday. All times are Central. Friday and Saturday’s game will be carried by GatorVision, and Sunday’s game is being carried by Sun Sports with Larry Vettel and Meagan Bush on the call.
“It’s the SEC, we’re ready,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “I like what I’m seeing from our pitchers. They’re hitting their spots, we’re working all our pitches pretty well and everyone, for the most part, got some time in Monday and Tuesday. We’re ready on the mound, and offensively we’re starting to swing it really well and we have a good understanding at the plate. Let’s go.”
Ole Miss is coming off a home, doubleheader sweep of Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, defeating the Lady Lions 5-2 in game one and 17-0 (5) in game two.
One day earlier in a doubleheader in Salt Lake City, senior pitcher Carly Hummel threw the first perfect game in program history in a 5-0 win over Utah State. The Rebels lost to host Utah in the second game 6-2.
The Rebels will look for their pitching success to carry over to the Sunshine State this weekend. Ole Miss has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 19 of its 21 games this season, and holds a 1.83 team ERA.
Pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter (5-2) has a team-best 1.55 ERA and a team-high 50 strikeouts, while Hummel (4-2) has a 1.89 ERA and 43 strikeouts. Both seniors have thrown 40.2 innings this season. Redshirt-freshman pitcher Emily Gaitan (3-1) has a 1.70 ERA in 24.2 innings, and sophomore pitcher Madi Osias (2-2) has 2.01 ERA in 24.1 innings of action.
At the plate, senior outfielder RT Cantillo has impressed all year. The Santa Ana, Calif., native leads the team and the conference with 35 hits, and is third in the league with a .500 batting average, recording a hit in 18 of Ole Miss’ 21 games.
Juniors Jamie Morgan and Allison Brown are second and third on the team, respectively, with batting averages of .410 and .388. Brown has a team-high tying 14 RBI, and went on an 11-game hitting streak earlier this season, which is the third longest streak in school history.
The Gators enter the weekend on a 22-game winning streak, which is their second longest season-opening run in program history (24 games in 2011). Florida junior pitcher/first baseman Lauren Haeger is the reigning SEC Player of the Week for the second time this season. Haeger enters the weekend batting .373 with nine home runs, and is 6-0 in the circle with a 1.02 ERA.
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