COLUMBIA, Mo. - Coming off an emphatic doubleheader sweep of Alcorn State in which it outscored the Lady Braves 31-6, the Ole Miss softball team now heads north to Columbia, Mo., for the first time in program history to take on No. 13 Missouri in a three-game series.
With Easter being Sunday, the two schools will play a doubleheader Friday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT, followed by the series finale Saturday at 2 p.m.
"We're back to .500 now, we control our own destiny and what we want to do is finish over .500 the rest of the way," Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. "We're going to go into Missouri and battle and try to take one from a ranked team, maybe two, or even three. Because why not? We have nothing to lose. We're facing really good teams the rest of the way, and we're a really good team."
Ole Miss (22-22, 3-12 Southeastern Conference) and Missouri (32-12, 9-6 SEC) have faced each other five times in program history, including last year's three-game series which was their first as SEC foes.
The Rebels have been led at the plate all year by senior outfielder RT Cantillo. The 20th overall selection in the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft by the Chicago Bandits, Cantillo is No. 2 in the SEC with a team-high .467 batting average. Her 57 hits this year are tied for the sixth most in program history, and she ranks fifth in the SEC with an on-base percentage of .544.
Senior first baseman Londen Ladner has batted in a team-high 34 RBIs, the seventh most in program history, and has hit a team-high seven home runs. Junior third baseman Allison Brown is second on the team in batting average (.351), runs (26) and RBIs (27).
In the circle, senior Carly Hummel (10-9) enters the three-game series against Missouri with 111.2 innings under her belt, 107 strikeouts and a team-best opposing batting average of .217. Fellow senior Shelby Jo Fenter (5-4) and freshman Emily Gaitan (4-6) have each thrown more than 55 innings this season.
Senior outfielder Mackenzie Sykes leads Missouri with eight home runs, and is third in the SEC with a team-high 47 RBIs. Sophomore outfielder Taylor Gadbois enters the series batting .451, which is also third in the league.
Freshmen pitchers Tori Finucane (14-5) and Casey Stangel (13-7) are the Tigers' two primary pitchers. Finucane has thrown a team-high 127.2 innings with a team-high 115 strikeouts and a team-best 1.86 ERA. Stangel has thrown 124.0 innings and has struck out 64 batters.
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