Rebel Softball Looking for Repeat Success Against LSU
April 5, 2018

FRIDAY - 6 p.m. CT SATURDAY - 6 p.m. CT SUNDAY - 1 p.m. CT

Games 33-35
Date: Apr. 6-8, 2018
First Pitch:
Fri.: 6 p.m.; Sat.: 6 p.m.; Sun.: 1 p.m.
Location:
Baton Rouge, La.
Venue:
Tiger Park
Series: LSU leads, 50-1`
Last Series: Apr. 14-15, 2017
                     Ole Miss swept, 3-0
                     Oxford, Miss.
Last Meeting:
May 13, 2017
                     Ole Miss won, 5-1
                     Knoxville, Tenn. (SEC Tournament)
TV:
SEC Network +
       Lyn Rollins (play-by-play)
       Yvette Girouard (analyst)
Live Stats:
OleMissSports.com
Twitter Updates: @OleMissSoftball

LEADING OFF
- Ole Miss continues the gauntlet that is SEC softball, heading to Baton Rouge to take on LSU in a pivotal road series at Tiger Park.

- All three games of the series will be broadcasted on SEC Network +, with Lyn Rollins handling play-by-play duties and legendary Tiger coach Yvette Girouard serving as analyst.

- The Tigers hold a commanding 50-11 lead in the all-time series, including 24-4 in Baton Rouge.

- However, it was Ole Miss that won all four games against the Tigers in 2017, sweeping a three-game series of one-run ball games in Oxford and defeating the Tigers 5-1 in the SEC Tournament Championship Game.

- In the third edition of the NCAA RPI report, Ole Miss slid up one spot to No. 34.

- LSU is ranked No. 14 in both national polls this week and comes in at No. 12 in the RPI.

- All four of Ole Miss’ remaining SEC opponents are ranked in the top-20 in the RPI report.

- Ole Miss is coming off of a 5-1 midweek road win at Southern Miss, avenging a loss to the Golden Eagles earlier in the season. Junior Brittany Finney and freshman Jessica Puk both drove in a pair of runs in the contest.

- In its last SEC action, Ole Miss faced off against then No. 10 Auburn at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The Tigers took the first two games of the series but the Rebels got the last laugh, coming out victorious in the final game thanks to Amanda Roth’s eighth-inning walk-off home run.

- Junior center fielder Kylan Becker became the first Rebel in 2018 to register four hits in a game in the finale against Auburn. Becker’s 4-for-4 showing at the plate matched her career-high for hits in a game.

- Finney has swung a hot bat in the last three games for Ole Miss, going 6-for-10 with a pair of doubles.

- Senior right-hander Kaitlin Lee threw all eight innings Sunday against a dangerous Auburn lineup, allowing just one earned run on six hits. It was the 34th win and complete game of Lee’s Rebel career, ranking fifth and seventh, respectively, in school history.

SCOUTING REPORT
- Beth Torina is in her seventh season as the head coach at LSU, having led the Tigers to a pair of 50-wins seasons as well as four 40-win campaigns and four trips to the Women’s College World Series during her time in Baton Rouge. Torina has led LSU to three-straight trips to the WCWS, joining UCLA as the only schools to advance to Oklahoma City in each of the last three years. Prior to taking reign of the Tiger program, Torina was the head coach at FIU from 2008-11, posting a 129-111 record at the Miami-based school. After completing her playing career as a pitcher at Florida, Torina had assistant coaching stints at Stetson and Houston.

- The Tigers have posted a 30-6 record in 2018, including a 5-4 mark in SEC play to sit at fourth in the conference standings. LSU is 23-1 in Baton Rouge, with the lone blemish coming in a 1-0 loss in nine innings to North Dakota State. The Tigers played a midweek game at McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Tuesday, claiming a 9-1 win in five innings. Prior to that, LSU took two-of-three games on the road at Missouri, taking both ends of a doubleheader last Friday before falling 5-4 in the finale.

- LSU is batting .279 as a team, posting a .400 slugging percentage with 36 doubles and 24 home runs. The Tigers have shown a good eye at the plate, collectively drawing 136 walks to 153 strikeouts this season. LSU runs a decent amount and is effective when doing so, going 50-for-56 on stolen base attempts, with Aliyah Andrews swiping safely in 31-of-32 attempts. Sophomore infielder Amanda Doyle leads LSU with a .372 average, ranking first on the team with 10 doubles, five home runs and 36 RBIs. Andrews isn’t far behind with a .364 average, scoring 28 times to lead the Tigers. Emily Griggs is the only other everyday starter batting over .300 at .310, scoring 21 runs and driving in 15 more.

- LSU boasts a tough pitching staff, registering a 1.22 ERA as a unit. Senior Carley Hoover has thrown a team-high 101.1 innings, posting a 1.04 ERA with 126 strikeouts to just 29 walks. Opponents are batting just .156 off of Hoover. The senior does, however, have a tendency to be a bit wild, unloading nine HBPs and seven wild pitches on the year. Fellow senior Allie Walljasper also sees consistent starts in the circle with 94.1 frames in 13 starts, leading the team with a 0.89 ERA and 85 strikeouts to 15 free passes. Walljasper is also extremely tough on opposing batters, holding opponents to a .168 average. Sophomore Maribeth Gorsuch has tossed 54.0 innings, recording a 2.07 ERA in 10 appearances, nine being starts.

TIGERS TAMED IN 2017
2017 was a year of dominance for Ole Miss against LSU. In the first 57 meetings between the Rebels and the Tigers, Ole Miss came out on top in just seven contests. In 2017, the script was flipped, with the Rebs making a clean sweep of the four matchups against LSU. It all started with a three-game series in Oxford in which the Rebels were the victors in three-straight one-run ball games. Ole Miss took both ends of a doubleheader to start the series off, registering a pair of 1-0 wins over the Tigers. Ole Miss completed the sweep the next day with a walk-off three run home run in the seventh, overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the game’s final frame. The final showdown was one that will live forever in Rebel lore. Ole Miss took down LSU 5-1 in the championship game of the SEC Tournament, capturing the school’s first-ever softball conference crown.

FINN IN FINE FORM
For much of the season junior Brittany Finney has struggled to find her footing at the plate, having registered just three hits in her first 34 at-bats of the season. The former Oklahoma Sooner, however, has turned the corner as of late. In her last two games Finney has gone 6-for-10, raising her batting average a whopping 117 points to .205.

WHITE HOT HORTON
After starting off the season without a hit in her first seven at-bats, sophomore slapper Kaylee Horton has cemented herself as one of if not the top hitter in Ole Miss’ lineup. The Jasper, Alabama native leads the team with a .370 average, having hit safely in eight of her last 10 games, registering six multi-hit games in that time frame. Since the beginning of the month of March, Horton is batting .433, scoring 10 runs and driving in eight more.

DINGERS = DUBS
While power hitting may not be a calling card for Ole Miss this season, with the Rebels registering 13 home runs on the season, when the Rebs do go long it usually leads to a victory. Ole Miss is 8-1 this season when posting at least one home run. In the lone loss, Ole Miss battled back from down 8-1 at Texas A&M and brought the winning run to the plate in the seventh inning before ultimately falling 8-6.

CLUTCH AUDDY
In her first season in Oxford, UCF transfer catcher Autumn Gillespie has proven that she’s got what it takes to come through when her team needs it the most. While batting .284 overall, Gillespie’s average spikes to .400 with runners in scoring position. Possibly even more impressive, the Redlands, California native has cashed in on 8-of-10 RBI opportunities with a runner at third and less than two outs.

PLAYING FROM AHEAD
It has become abundantly clear that a quick start is important for Ole Miss. The Rebels are 16-5 this season when scoring first and are 2-9 when playing from behind. In games in which Ole Miss has scored in the opening frame, the Rebs have accumulated an 11-2 record.

ON DECK
When Ole Miss completes its four-game road trip, the Rebels will return to Oxford for six-straight home games, beginning with back-to-back games against Central Arkansas and Belmont Tuesday and Wednesday. Ole Miss will then take on bitter rival Mississippi State in a three-game set in Oxford Saturday through Monday. The Rebs will wrap up the homestand Apr. 18 versus ULM at the Ole Miss Softball Stadium.

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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