OXFORD, Miss. – After winning 12 of its final 13 non-conference games, the Ole Miss softball team (16-9) will look to continue its hot play Friday when it travels to Lexington, Ky., to open Southeastern Conference action against No. 15 Kentucky (16-3). The Rebels will face Kentucky on Friday at 4 p.m. CT, and again Saturday and Sunday with start times at noon CT.
“It’s been great to see the team’s improvement over the last few weeks,” Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees said. “After the first month of games, we’re now turning our attention to Kentucky and the start of conference play. You play the best of the best in the SEC, and this series will be a great test for us.”
After starting the season 4-8, the Rebels have won 12 of their last 13 games, including tying the program record nine-game winning streak. Ole Miss will be facing another hot team in Kentucky, which has won eight straight games and is off to the best 19-game start in school history. Friday’s conference opener will also be the Wildcats’ home opener.
Broome has hit a team-high .583 over the last 13 games for Ole Miss, and is currently riding a program-record 12-game hitting streak. Culley, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, has hit .485 in the 13-game stretch, second best on the team. In the circle, Ole Miss doesn’t have a single pitcher with an ERA above 2.82 over the last 13 games. Hummel and Fenter have been especially difficult over the last 10 games, posting a combined ERA of 0.50 while going 7-1 with 50 strikeouts.
On the season, junior center fielder RT Cantillo leads the Rebels with a .426 batting average, a team-high 29 hits and a team-best 21 runs scored. Sophomore third baseman Allison Brown has a team-high 21 RBI and an SEC-leading 10 doubles. Defensively, the Rebels lead the SEC with a .986 fielding percentage. Ole Miss’ nine errors are tied for the fewest in the conference.
Cantillo and Broome were each named to the UCF Holiday Inn Select Spring Fling All-Tournament Team last weekend in Orlando, where the Rebels went 4-1.
Ole Miss leads the all-time series against the Wildcats 26-16. The two teams squared off in a midweek doubleheader last season in Oxford, Miss., with Kentucky winning both games. This is the first meeting between the two teams in Lexington, Ky., since 2009. Ole Miss is 11-8 all-time against UK in Lexington.
Kentucky has been led at the plate by junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess, who is hitting a team-best .373, including a team-high 18 RBI. Senior infielder Kara Dill has team highs in hits (24) and runs (21).
In the circle, the Wildcats have been paced by freshman Kelsey Nunley, who became the first player in program history to start a year with a 10-0 record. Nunley has a 2.16 ERA, while leading the team with 68.0 innings pitched and 55 strikeouts. In her six starts this season, Nunley is 6-0 with a 1.23 ERA, throwing 40 innings with 37 strikeouts.
For all Ole Miss softball news and information, including live stats of the Rebels’ three-game series against No. 15 Kentucky, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans can follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.
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