Ole Miss Opens NCAA Tournament at Tempe Regional
May 17, 2018
- The Rebels are the No. 3 seed in the Tempe Regional, the lowest seeding Ole Miss has ever had in its three postseason appearances.
- All games of the regional will be broadcasted on the ESPN Family of Networks, with Tiffany Greene calling play-by-play, while Amanda Scarborough will serve as analyst for all games during the regional.
- The Rebels are 5-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, sweeping the Oxford Regional in 2017 on the way to the program's first-ever Super Regional Appearance.
- Ole Miss is ranked No. 38 in the latest RPI report, sliding back four spots from the No. 34 spot the previous week.
- The Rebs earned eight wins against RPI top-25 teams in 2018, including four wins over teams slotted in the top-10 (No. 1 Oregon, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 10 Georgia twice).
- In the final week of the regular season, Ole Miss defeated then-No. 5 Georgia twice to earn the 12th and final spot in the SEC Tournament. It was the first SEC series loss of the season for the Bulldogs.
- Ole Miss has played just one of its potential opponents in the Tempe Regional during the Mike Smith era, topping Arizona State 2-0 in the NCAA Regional round.
- Offensively, ASU is batting .282 as a team with 281 runs scored on the year on 258 RBIs. The bulk of the Sun Devils damage has come via power, with ASU registering 63 doubles, 60 home runs and 13 triples, good for a .476 team slugging percentage. Outfielder Kindra Hackbarth leads the way with a .363 average, registering 34 runs to go along with 10 doubles, a team-best five triples and four homers. Infielder Danielle Gibson isn't far behind with a .358 average, racking up team-best marks with 12 long balls, 12 doubles and 39 RBIs. Outfielder Morgan Howe rounds out the Sun Devils batting over .300 at .347, scoring a team-high 39 runs with seven home runs.
- Led by USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Finalist G Juarez, Arizona State boasts one of the elite pitching staffs in the nation, ranking ninth in the country with a 1.43 team-ERA and third with a 5.87 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Juarez comes into the regional with eye-popping numbers, earning a 23-4 record with a 0.92 ERA, striking out 276 to just 34 walks. Of her 27 starts, Juarez has gone the distance 23 times, posting 12 shutouts in 197.1 innings. Breanna Macha has also seen plenty of action at 120 frames, posting a 14-6 record with a 2.33 ERA.
- Kim Sowder is in her 12th season as head coach at Long Beach State, having guided the 49ers to a 398-257-1 record. Sowder, a two-time Big West Coach of the Year, will be competing in her seventh regional at the helm of The Beach softball program. She is one of the greatest players in the history of 49ers softball, being inducted in the LBSU Hall of Fame in 1998, playing shortstop for The Beach from 1989-92.
- As a team, the 49ers are batting .308 with 307 runs scored and 277 RBIs. The calling card for The Beach has been two-baggers, ranking sixth in the nation with 1.65 doubles per game, good for 89 total. Outfielder Naomi Hernandez paces the 49ers with a .388 average, racking up a team-high 18 doubles with 47 runs and 36 RBIs. Infielder Nichole Fry is next up with a .372 average, leading LBSU with 51 runs, while adding 16 doubles, seven homers and 39 RBIs. Infielder Taylor Rowland leads the team with 58 RBIs to go with her .358 average, crushing a team-high 12 long balls. Infielder Julia Lombardi is the final 49er batting above .300, scoring 22 runs and driving in 19 more.
- The 49ers have also been strong in the circle, posting a 2.27 ERA as a team with 327 strikeouts and 163 walks, holding opposing batters to a .213 average. Cielo Meza is the ace with 170 innings in the circle, registering a 22-4 record with a 1.48 ERA, striking out 217 batters to just 64 walks. Jessica Flores has pitched 107.2 frames, posting a 10-2 record with a 2.93 ERA, while Devyn Magnett holds a 10-6 record with a 3.02 ERA in 90.1 innings.
- New Mexico State has been led by head coach Kathy Rodolph for the past 15 seasons. During that time, Rodolph has amassed a 465-388 record with the Aggies, making her the winningest head coach at NM State currently. Prior to taking over the program in Las Cruces, Rodolph spent two seasons as the head coach at NCAA Division II program Angelo State (TX). Overall, Rodolph holds a 534-422 record as a head coach.
- The Aggies boast a dangerous offense, holding a team batting average of .316, with six everyday players batting over .300. As a team, NM State has registered 297 runs on 271 RBIs with 78 doubles, 13 triples and 58 home runs. WAC Player of the Year Kelsey Horton has had one of the most prolific seasons in the nation, topping Division I with 25 home runs, ranking fourth in RBIs with 64 and seventh in slugging percentage at .927, while also leading the team with a .402 average and 52 runs scored. Catcher Nikki Butler boasts a .382 average with 13 doubles, 11 homers and 52 RBIs, while outfielder Victoria Castro sits at .352 with 10 dingers and 32 RBIs. Infielder Rachel Rodriguez is batting .357 with 41 runs scored, stealing successfully on 14-of-15 attempts.
- In the circle, the Aggies are averaging four earned runs allowed per seven innings, allowing a .290 average to opposing batters. Kayla Green paces NM State with 135.1 innings, posting a 14-8 record with a 3.52 ERA, while Samaria Diaz holds a 4.17 ERA in 95.2 innings, registering a 6-9 record. Analise De La Roca has a 9-4 record with a 4.34 ERA in 80.2 frames.
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