No. 18 Rebel Softball Set to Open SEC Play at No. 7 Texas A&M
March 8, 2018

Texas A&M Preview

FRIDAY - 6 p.m. CT SATURDAY - 2:30 p.m. CT SUNDAY - 1 p.m. CT

Games 18-20
Date: March 9-11, 2018
First Pitch:
Fri: 6 p.m.; Sat.: 2:30 p.m.; Sun.: 1 p.m.
Location:
College Station, Texas
Venue:
Aggie Softball Complex
Series: Texas A&M leads, 12-2
Last Series: March 17-19,2017
                     No. 7 Texas A&M swept, 3-0
                     Oxford, Miss.
TV:
G1: SECN+ | G2/3: SEC Network
       G1: Chelsea Reber (PxP) | Boomer White (analyst)
       G2/3: Courtney Lyle (PxP) | Jenny Dalton-Hill (analyst)
Live Stats:
OleMissSports.com
Twitter Updates: @OleMissSoftball

LEADING OFF
• Ole Miss and Texas A&M open up SEC play this weekend, taking part in a three-game series in College Station.

  • Friday's game will be available on SEC Network + via WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with Chelsea Reber and Boomer white calling the game. The final two games of the series on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcasted to a national audience on the SEC Network, with Courtney Lyle and Jenny Dalton-Hill handling commentary duties.
  • It will be the second and third games on national TV in four contests for Ole Miss after Tuesday's affair with Boston College in Oxford was also televised on the SEC Network.
  • Sharing the same conference for only a few seasons, Ole Miss and Texas A&M have met just 14 times. The Aggies hold a commanding lead in the all-time series at 12-2, having won each of the last seven times the two programs have faced off. However, recent battles between the Rebs and Aggies have been tight, with four of the last five games being decided by three runs or less. Ole Miss is 1-6 all-time in College Station, with the only victory coming in a 2-0 shutout over then-No. 21 Texas A&M in 2005.
  • Ole Miss will be looking to alter recent history in the first conference series of the season. During the three previous seasons of the Mike Smith era, the Rebels are just 1-8 in the opening series, including a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Aggies in 2017.
  • The Rebels are looking to break their first losing streak of the season after back-to-back losses to Southern Miss and Boston College.
  • Ole Miss remains in the top-20 in both national polls, being slotted No. 18 in the USA Softball Poll and No. 19 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
  • The Aggies are considered one of the premier squads in the nation, coming in at No. 7 in both national polls.
  • The last time Ole Miss faced a Top-10 team, the Rebels earned a thrilling 1-0 victory over No. 3 Oregon in Mexico.
  • Freshman third baseman Amanda Roth was absolutely unconscious at the plate during the Ole Miss Classic. Roth posted a .833 average during the event, reaching base in 10-of-11 plate appearances.
  • In the first game of the weekend, Roth became the first Rebel in 2018 to hit multiple home runs in a game and drove in four RBIs, the most by a Rebel this season.
  • The Aggies enter the series with a 19-3 record after going 4-1 at the A&M Invite in College Station last weekend and topping Penn State in a midweek matchup on Tuesday.
  • Texas A&M is headed by legendary coach Jo Evans, one of 15 active coaches with over 1,000 wins at the Division I level.

SCOUTING REPORT
• Jo Evans, an NFCA Hall of Fame inductee, is in her 22nd season as the head coach of Texas A&M. Evans is one of 15 active coaches with at least 1,000 wins at the Division I level, having guided three different programs to national prominence. Evans began her head coaching career in 1986 before moving to her alma mater, Utah, four years later. She remained in Salt Lake City for seven seasons, guiding the Utes to the WCWS twice in that span. Since taking over in College Station, all Evans has done is win over 68 percent of her games and take TAMU to Oklahoma City three times.

  • Texas A&M comes into this weekend's series ranked seventh in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and USA Softball Poll. The Aggies have accumulated a 19-3 record, Winning six of their last seven games. Last weekend, Texas A&M went 4-1 as hosts of the A&M Invite, with the lone blemish coming against a quality Utah team. at the Invite, TAMU bested Louisiana Tech, an NCAA Tournament team a year ago, twice, while also knocking off Texas State, another NCAA qualifier, and getting revenge over the Utes. In a midweek clash on Tuesday, A&M topped Penn State 8-0 in five innings in College Station.
  • The Aggies boast a powerful offense, ranking 31st in the nation with a .317 batting average as a team, going along with a .408 OBP, 19th in the country. Texas A&M has also posted impressive power numbers with 28 doubles, four triples and 16 home runs. Seven Aggies are batting over .300 with at least 20 at-bats, led by Sarah Hudek's .414 average. Not far behind is Ashley Walters at .383, also ranking second on the team with 17 RBIs. Keeli Milligan hits at a .358 clip and once on base is extremely dangerous with 15 steals in 16 attempts. One of the top players in the game, Tori Vidales hits for power and average. She is batting .344 and leads the team with 28 RBI's, including a team-best five home runs.
  • The Texas A&M pitching staff has also proven to be tremendously formidable this season. The staff as a whole has registered a 1.64 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .220 average. Three players carry a bulk of the load for the Aggies, with Samantha Show being the bell cow at 51.1 innings. Show is 6-2 with a 2.59 ERA, striking out 28 and walking 19. Trinity Harrington is next in line with 36.1 innings in the circle, boasting a 1.16 ERA and a 25-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio while going 5-1. Maddie MacGrandle is undefeated at 4-0, posting a 1.24 ERA in her 28.1 innings. Lexi Smith has also seen some work with 18.1 frames on the rubber. She holds a 1.53 ERA while going 3-0.

HORTON HEARS SOME HITS
While Ole Miss struggled offensively in Tuesday's midweek tilt with Boston College, sophomore utility player Kaylee Horton had one of the finest days at the plate of her young career. Horton went 3-for-3 with a run scored, tying her career high with three hits in a single game. It was the first game of Horton's career with a hit in every at-bat (minimum two at-bats). The performance was a coming out party of sorts, as the Jasper, Alabama native had just four hits in her previous 22 at-bats this season.

REBS GO 3-1 AT OLE MISS CLASSIC
After the Red & Blue Classic was cancelled the previous week, the Rebels were finally able to host a home tournament with the Ole Miss Classic. The Rebels went 3-1 at the classic, defeating UT Martin, Saint Louis and Chattanooga before falling in the event's final game to Southern Miss. The Rebels scored 25 runs over the three days, surrendering just 10.

BELIEVE IN No. 3
Prior to a setback against Southern Miss, Kaitlin Lee was having about as strong of a start to the 2018 season in the circle as you could have asked for. With a win against UT Martin on the opening day of the Ole Miss Classic, Lee became the first pitcher in Ole Miss history to win each of her first eight decisions in a single season. Dating back to last season, she had won 15 of her previous 16 decisions.

SLUMP BUSTED
Entering the Ole Miss Classic, freshman third baseman Amanda Roth had yet to get a hit in the first 15 at-bats of her collegiate career. The native Texan got off the schneid in a big way against UT Martin, going 3-for-3 with two home runs and a double, collecting four RBIs, the most by a Rebel this season. When the classic was all said and done, Roth had gone 5-for-6 at the plate with a .833 average, a .909 on-base percentage, a 2.000 slugging percentage, five RBIs, three walks and three runs scored.

LUCK WITH THE LEADOFF
Nothing puts pressure on the opposing defense more than getting the leadoff batter aboard to start an inning. Ole Miss has been very proficient in this area, with seven players batting .500 when leading off an inning. Those players include Amanda Roth, Alex Schneider, Elantra Cox, Dylinn Stancil, Izzy Werdann and Celeste Wood.

STAFF OF THE STINGIEST ORDER
Even when the Rebel bats aren't firing on all cylinders, the Ole Miss pitching staff has kept the Rebels in the ball game in pretty much every contest. Of the Rebels' 17 games, the pitching staff has held its opponent to two runs or less 13 times. This includes three shutouts and an additional four games holding the opposing team to a single run.

ON DECK
Following this weekend's matchup with the Aggies, Ole Miss remains on the road for a midweek matchup with Southeastern Louisiana. The Rebels and Lions will faceoff at 5 p.m. in Hammond, Louisiana. The game will be streamed live on LionVision.

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 softball and all of Ole Miss athletics on Snapchat under the handle, @WeAreOleMiss.


 

 

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