Rebels Aiming to Re-Capture May Magic as SEC Tournament Opens
May 8, 2018

WEDNESDAY - 4 p.m.

Games 53
Date: May 4, 2018
First Pitch:
4 p.m. CT
Location:
Columbia, Mo.
Venue:
Mizzou Softball Stadium
Series: LSU leads, 52-12
Last Meeting:
Apr. 6-8, 2018
                       LSU won, 2-1
                       Baton Rouge, La.
TV: SEC Network
      
Beth Mowins (play-by-play)
       Michele Smith (analyst)
       Holly Rowe (sideline)
Live Stats:
OleMissSports.com
Twitter Updates: @OleMissSoftball

LEADING OFF
- Ole Miss opens the SEC Tournament as the No. 12 seed, taking on fifth-seeded LSU on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Mizzou Softball Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.

- The opening round of the SEC Tournament will be televised on the SEC Network, with Beth Mowins and Michele Smith on the call.

- Wednesday’s game will be a rematch of the 2017 SEC Tournament Championship Game, in which the Rebels defeated the Tigers 5-1 to capture their first-ever conference crown.

- The Rebels are making their seventh trip all-time to the conference championship and have earned a bid in a record four-straight seasons.

- Ole Miss and LSU faced off in a three-game series earlier in the year in Baton Rouge, with LSU winning the first two games of the series before the Rebels salvaged game three.

- In the first game of the series, the Rebs and Tigers went toe-to-toe for 19 innings before LSU walked off on an RBI bloop single to right field, tying the record for the longest game in SEC history.

- Kaitlin Lee and LSU’s Allie Walljasper threw every pitch for their respective teams, with Lee tossing a program-record 256 total pitches.

- While LSU leads the all-time series 52-12, the Rebels have won five of the last seven matchups.

- In the most recent NCAA RPI report, Ole Miss moved to the No. 34 spot after earning a pair of wins over No. 5 Georgia.

- The Tigers are ranked No. 13 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll, while taking the 14th spot in the ESPN/USA Softball Poll.

- LSU is ranked No. 9 in the latest RPI report, making Wednesday’s meeting the seventh-straight game against a top-20 team for the Rebels, including four-consecutive against RPI top-10 teams.

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 five 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 posted a 40-13 overall record, including 13-10 in conference play to earn the No. 5 seed in this year’s SEC Tournament. The Tigers are coming off of a three-game sweep of Arkansas in Baton Rouge, outscoring the Razorbacks 17-3 in the series. The Tigers hold a 43-21 SEC Tournament record all-time, having been bounced in the first round just once, and have captured the conference crown five times.

- LSU is batting .266 as a team, posting a .389 slugging percentage with 60 doubles and 35 home runs. The Tigers have shown a good eye at the plate, collectively drawing 180 walks, but have also struck out 241 times. LSU runs a decent amount and is effective when doing so, going 64-for-70 on stolen base attempts, with Aliyah Andrews swiping safely in 37-of-38 attempts. Andrews leads the Tigers with a .339 average, scoring a team-high 31 runs on the year. Sophomore infielder Amanda Doyle isn’t far behind at .335, ranking first on the team with 14 doubles, seven home runs and 44 RBIs. Emily Griggs is the only other every-day starter batting over .300 at .310, scoring 26 runs and driving in 22 more.

- LSU boasts a tough pitching staff, registering a 1.43 ERA as a unit. Senior Allie Walljasper has thrown a team-high 147.2 innings, posting a 1.00 ERA with 119 strikeouts to just 30 walks. Opponents are batting just .175 on the season against Walljasper. Senior Carley Hoover is right behind Walljasper with 144.1 frames in the circle, posting a 1.26 ERA with a 16-6 record. Hoover has struck out a team-high 174 batters and has issued just 44 free passes in 2018. The senior’s lone weakness is a tendency to get wild, surrendering 11 wild pitches and plunking 11 batters so far. Both Hoover and Walljasper joined Rebel pitcher Kaitlin Lee in being selected in the recently completed NPF Draft.

REBELS AND TIGERS MAKE SEC HISTORY WITH MARATHON CONTEST
The last time Ole Miss and LSU faced off, the Rebels and Tigers played deep into the night in the opener of their three-game series, tying the record for the longest game in Southeastern Conference history at 19 innings. Kaitlin Lee and Tiger pitcher Ally Walljasper combined for one of the most epic pitching duels in NCAA history, with both going the distance on a windy night in Baton Rouge. The numbers from the 2-1 LSU win are pretty staggering. Over the course of her school-record 18.2 innings, Lee threw 256 pitches, while Walljasper tossed 237 of her own. Of those 493 pitches, only 15 of them went for a hit. The Rebels were hitless in 17 opportunities with runners on, while Lee held the Tigers to just 3-for-21 in the same situation. Despite the loss, it will go down as a game no one involved will ever forget.

WALK-OFF QUEEN
Despite batting at the bottom of the order for virtually the entire season with an average just over .200, freshman Amanda Roth has been the artist behind a number of clutch plays for the Rebels in 2018. The Carrollton, Texas native seems to be developing a knack for the walk-off long ball, recording her second game-ending big fly of the season in game one against Georgia. Entering the seventh inning with a pair of hits in as many at-bats against the Bulldogs, the freshman wore a pitch on the elbow but was called back into the box by the home plate umpire for leaning into the pitch. On the very next pitch, Roth took Kylie Bass deep to left-field, planting a ball in the bleachers and meeting her teammates at the plate to celebrate a crucial win. It was a near mirror-image of a dinger the freshman hit earlier in the year to walk-off against Auburn, parking a tank in the crowd beyond the left field wall at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. Roth is becoming known for her power, leading the Rebels with six dingers on the year.

RED-HOT BULLDOGS PUT ON A LEASH
Ole Miss entered its regular season-ending series against No. 5 Georgia in need of a pair of wins to have much of any chance of making the SEC Tournament for the fourth-straight year. Facing a team that hadn’t lost a conference series all season, few thought the Rebels would be up to the task. Ole Miss proved the doubters wrong, handing Georgia back-to-back defeats to open the series by scores of 4-3 and 5-0. After Amanda Roth walked off against the Bulldogs in the first game, Kaitlin Lee became the second pitcher all year to shutout the prolific Georgia offense, holding the Bulldogs to just five base hits.

IT’S SIMPLE, MORE HITS = MORE WINS
While it’s pretty logical that when you collect more hits than your opponent you are going to come out on top more times than not, for Ole Miss that equation has been infallible this season. The Rebels are a perfect 22-0 in 2018 when outhitting their opponent. Meanwhile, the Rebels are just 6-16 when allowing more base knocks than they are able to record themselves.

LUCK WITH LEFTIES
While the vast majority of pitchers throw from the other side of the rubber, Ole Miss has been extremely successful this season when facing off against left-handed pitchers. The Rebels are batting .365 against left-handed hurlers, more than 100 points higher than against righties. Players batting above .300 against lefties this season are Elantra Cox (.750), Kaylee Horton (.636), Autumn Gillespie (.462), Kylan Becker (.417), Paige McKinney (.364) and Amanda Roth (.333).

STARTING OUT STRONG
One of the keys to a big inning is to get off to a strong start, an area that Ole Miss has exceled at. The Rebels are batting .364 as a team when leading off an inning, with six players batting over .400 to start a frame. Brittany Finney leads the way at .517 and is followed by Alex Schneider (.440), Paige McKinney (.432), Elantra Cox (.417), Amanda Roth (.417) and Izzy Werdann (.400).

FINNEY OWNS APRIL
After struggling through the first half of the season, junior Brittany Finney has become one of Ole Miss’ most dangerous bats in the lineup. Starting all 19 games during April, Finney posted a .328 average during the month with a three home runs, three doubles, 12 RBIs and five runs. The Wichita, Kansas native has also shown a tremendous eye, drawing eight walks for a .408 on-base percentage. If you add in the final game of March, the junior reached base in 18-of-20 contests, batting .359 with a .563 slugging percentage.

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.

 

 

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook