Rebels Host No. 9 Alabama in SEC Home Opener

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

March 13, 2014

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OXFORD, Miss. – One week after defeating No. 1 Florida on the road in its Southeastern Conference opener, the Ole Miss softball team will take on another top-10 conference foe when it hosts No. 9 Alabama in its SEC home opener Friday-Sunday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.

The Rebels (16-10, 1-2 SEC) will face the Crimson Tide (21-4, 3-0 SEC) on Friday at 6 p.m. CT, while Saturday’s game will start at 2 p.m. CT and the series finale Sunday is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CT.

Ole Miss is coming off a doubleheader split on the road at ULM on Wednesday night. After falling 6-3 in game one to the Warhawks, Ole Miss rebounded in game two to win 11-1 in five innings.

“Every weekend in the SEC is always fun,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “I’m looking forward to Alabama coming in. Our team is playing good softball. Even in the first game against ULM, we were playing good softball, we were just flat. Right now, we just need the energy – I don’t think that will be a problem against Alabama – and to bring the focus. I look forward to the competition.”

Saturday will be the first Crawfish Saturday of the year with 100 pounds of crawfish available for fans in the outfield free of charge. Sunday will be Sundae Sunday at the park, where fans can get free ice cream sundaes while supplies last.

The Ole Miss pitching staff has paced the Rebels in 2014 with a 2.17 ERA. In 26 games this season, Ole Miss has allowed three or fewer earned runs 22 times.

The leader of that unit has been senior Carly Hummel (6-3). The reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week has a team-best ERA of 1.67 in 58.2 innings of action. She has struck out a team-high 64 batters and has gone the distance in each of her past six starts.

At the plate, Ole Miss has been led by senior outfielder RT Cantillo, junior third baseman Allison Brown and senior first baseman Londen Ladner. Cantillo has a team-high batting average of .507, fueled by a team-high 38 hits, which are both the second highest marks in the SEC. Brown is hitting .378 for the year with a team-high 17 runs and 16 RBI. Ladner has recorded three games this season in which she has batted in four or more runs, including Wednesday’s nightcap at ULM. The Brandon, Miss., native has a team-high four home runs and 20 RBIs.

Three of Alabama’s four losses this season have come against fellow ranked teams. Haylie McCleney leads Alabama and the SEC with a .537 batting average. She has hit five home runs this season and has knocked in a team-high 21 RBIs. Kaila Hunt follows McCleney closely with a .433 average, a team-high six home runs and 20 RBIs.

In the circle, Alabama has a team ERA of 2.03, with Leslie Jury (9-2), Jaclyn Traina (7-2) and Sydney Littlejohn (5-0) leading the way. Jury has thrown a team-high 64.2 innings, while Traina has struck out a team-high 70 batters. In 31.1 innings of action, Littlejohn, a freshman, has a team-best 1.79 ERA.

For all Ole Miss softball news and information, including game recaps and live stats of each game in this series, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans can also follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.

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