Game 21 Date: March 14, 2018 First Pitch: 5 p.m. CT Location: Hammond, La. Venue: North Oak Park Series: Ole Miss leads, 6-1 Last Meeting: March 15,2017 Ole Miss 10, Southeastern Louisiana 3 Oxford, Miss. TV: LionVision (LionSports.net) Live Stats:OleMissSports.com Twitter Updates: @OleMissSoftball
Ole Miss will play in Hammond, Louisiana for the third time in program history Wednesday when making the trip to the Pelican State for a midweek road battle with Southeastern Louisiana.
The game will be broadcasted live on LionVision, accessible at LionSports.net.
Ole Miss and Southeastern Louisiana have met up seven times in the series’ all-time history, with the Rebels holding a healthy 6-1 advantage. However, in the two previous meetings in Hammond, the Rebels and Lions split a doubleheader.
Ole Miss has a couple of connections to the state of Louisiana. Freshman utility player Mary Terral hails from Farmerville, Louisiana, while senior Bry Castro began her career at McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Additionally, head coach Mike Smith coached at McNeese for three seasons before making the move to Oxford.
The two teams went toe-to-toe a year ago, with Ole Miss claiming a comfortable victory by a score of 10-3.
Head coach Mike Smith holds a 6-3 record all-time against the Lions of Southeastern Louisiana. Smith went 5-3 against SLU during his three-year stint at the helm at McNeese State and won the only meeting between the Lions and Rebels since his arrival at Ole Miss.
The Rebels have had good luck against teams from the Bayou State recently, winning the last eight matchups against teams that call Louisiana home. Ole Miss won all seven games against Louisiana schools last season, including four wins over SEC foe LSU.
Ole Miss remains in both national polls, being slotted No. 22 in the USA Softball Poll and No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
Southeastern Louisiana is 12-10 on the season, opening up Southland Conference play last weekend at home against Abilene Christian. Against the Wildcats, SLU dropped the first game 5-4 before coming back and winning the second game of the doubleheader 3-2. ACU came out on top in the rubber match, beating the Lions 7-1.
Southeastern Louisiana battled Ole Miss’ arch rival Mississippi State earlier in the year, nearly pulling off the upset. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-0 advantage early before the Lions battled back with a pair of runs in the sixth to force extras. However, MSU walked off for the victory in the eighth.
Southeastern Louisiana is led by head coach Rick Fremin, who is in his third season at the school. During his time in Hammond, Fremin has posted a 61-71 record. Fremin moved over to Southeastern Louisiana from the Magnolia State after heading up the Jackson State softball program for five years. While at JSU, Fremin’s squads won three SWAC titles, the first three in the program’s history.
The Lions enter Wednesday’s midweek tilt with a 12-10 record, opening up Southland Conference action this past weekend at home, dropping a series to Abilene Christian 2-1. Southeastern Louisiana has been tough to top at home this season, posting an 8-3 record when playing at North Oak Park. The Lions and Rebels share one common opponent during the 2018 season in Southern Miss. While Ole Miss was defeated 5-2 by the Golden Eagles, SLU registered a 9-3 victory over USM in Hattiesburg last week.
Despite a .262 overall team average, the Lions boast three players batting over .300 for the season. sophomore Ali McCoy is tops among them at .346, while also making four appearances in the circle for SLU. Senior outfielder Maddie Edmonston is right behind McCoy with a .340 average, leading the team with a .421 on-base percentage. 2017 Southland Newcomer of the Year Mahalia Gibson leads the Lions with 22 runs batted in, recording 13 extra-base hits with six homers, six doubles and a triple. Junior utility player Jaquelyn Ramon is batting .313 and is a constant threat to score, leading SLU with16 runs.
In the circle, the SLU staff has garnered a 3.04 ERA, with opponents batting .263 against the Lion pitchers. Senior Rachel Hayes leads the squad with 46.2 innings of work, going 2-5 with a 3.45 ERA, walking 27 batters. Fellow senior Lacey Hill isn’t far behind at 43.0 innings, going 6-2 on the year with a 2.77 ERA. Hill holds a team-best .217 opponent batting average in her 11 appearances. Sophomore Tanner Wright has also seen significant time with 33.1 frames on the rubber. In her nine appearances, Wright has recorded a 1.68 ERA, lowest on the team, striking out 19 to eight walks.
A team built on speed, Southeastern Louisiana has no qualms with attempting to steal a bag. The Lions currently rank fourth in the nation at 2.59 stolen bases per game. SLU stole 162 bases in 2017, tying for the national lead. In Fremin’s first year at the helm, SLU finished atop the NCAA with 172 steals, with former Lion Katie Lacour leading the country with 58 stolen bags.
HORTON HEATING UP Nobody in the Ole Miss lineup has been as hot as of late than sophomore utility player Kaylee Horton. The Jasper, Alabama native is hitting .583 over the last four games, going 7-for-12 at the plate. Being used both in the infield and the outfield, Horton has provided position flexibility and stability, committing no errors in 2018 while posting 10 putouts and five assists in those four games. Prior to the recent hot streak, Horton had collected just four hits in 22 at-bats (.182), appearing in 15 games.
McKINNEY SHOWING HER POP In three seasons at Ole Miss, senior shortstop Paige McKinney had registered just four extra-base hits in her collegiate career. This season, the DeSoto High School product has seen her power numbers rise, already tallying three extra-baggers with two doubles and a triple. If the season ended today, McKinney’s .356 slugging percentage would easily be a career-high, more than 50 points higher than the highest mark in her career.
THEY COME IN BUNCHES Over the past two seasons home runs have shown to be contagious for Ole Miss. Last season, Ole Miss hit multiple homers in nine games, accounting for 19 long balls. On the flip side, just 12 of Ole Miss’ dingers were the only home run to be hit by a Rebel in that game. The pattern has spilled over into 2018. Ole Miss has four games in which they’ve gone yard twice, compared to just two contests where the ball has left the park once.
ON DECK After Wednesday’s midweek road tilt, Ole Miss returns to the most beautiful campus in America to open up SEC play at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The Rebels will welcome the Gamecocks of South Carolina to Oxford for a three-game series Friday through Sunday, with all three games being streamed live on SEC Network +. For Friday’s contest, the first 500 fans in attendance will receive a replica 2017 SEC Tournament Championship ring.
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