Aug. 22, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss softball team will play in four tournaments this spring, including a trip to Hawaii, prior to the start of Southeastern Conference play, Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees announced Wednesday.
“We are really excited about the schedule because it’s going to be a challenging one,” Thees said. “We’re going to get used to traveling early since we have some really tough competition in conference play as well. We play some tough teams at home and some tough teams on the road, so it’s a challenging schedule but I like how we match up with all these teams. If people want to see what top softball looks like, they’ll be able to come to the Ole Miss Softball Complex on campus and see some unbelievable softball.”
The Rebels will say ‘Aloha’ to the 2013 season with a three-day tournament in Honolulu from Feb. 7-10. It will be the Rebels’ first trip to the Aloha State in program history.
“Playing in Hawaii, we’re going to face Hawaii and Washington, which are both perennial top-25 teams, along with UAB, which has made the tournament so many years and St. Mary’s,” Thees said. “That will be a great way to kick it off for us and see what we’re made of.”
Following its trip to the Hawaiian Islands, Ole Miss will return to Oxford for its home opener against LSU in a rare non-conference game against the Tigers. Due to the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC schedule, Ole Miss will face LSU in Oxford for one non-conference game in 2013, and once in Baton Rouge, La., next season in a non-conference matchup before resuming their regular SEC season series in 2015.
The Rebels will compete in their second tournament of the season, the Mardi Gras Invitational in Mobile, Ala., from Feb. 15-17.
“South Alabama had a great run last year, making the finals of the regional tournament at Alabama,” Thees said. “Again, it’s a tough road game, but it’s still close so we’re excited to have local families come support us down there for that tournament. That’s another step in getting us prepared for that tough SEC schedule.”
After playing Southern Miss in a doubleheader Feb. 20 at the Ole Miss Softball Complex, the Rebels will host the seventh annual Red and Blue Classic from Feb. 22-24. Coming to Oxford for the Rebels’ home tournament will be Mississippi Valley State, Drake, Middle Tennessee State, McNeese State and Tennessee-Martin.
“We’re going to be at home and have a nice, big tournament here,” Thees said. “We feel we have a good mix of some regional talent coming in. We’re going to have five home games here that we’re going to play so everybody here in Oxford is going to be able to come cheer us on early in the season.”
After a home doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Feb. 27, Ole Miss will open the month of March with its final regular-season tournament at UCF on March 1-3 in Orlando, Fla.
“Central Florida is another team that advanced to regionals last year,” said Thees, who is entering her second year at the helm. “They’re a great, quality team that plays in my old conference, Conference USA, so I’m pretty familiar with them. That will be really good for us to get ready for the next step, which is conference play the next week.”
The 2013 SEC schedule opens with a series against the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, Ky., from March 8-10. The Rebels will be looking to make a return trip to the Bluegrass, as UK will be the host site for the 2013 SEC Tournament.
After a pair of midweek games at Belmont and Tennessee Martin on March 12 and March 13, respectively, the Rebels will have their SEC home opener against conference newcomer Missouri from March 15-17.
Ole Miss will face Samford at home March 20 before hitting the road for a series against Georgia from March 22-24, and a home series against Florida from March 29-31.
The Rebels open the month of April with a road game at Samford on April 3, before again hitting the road for a series against Auburn from April 5-7 and another road series against in-state rival Mississippi State from April 12-14.
A home game April 17 against Louisiana-Monroe will be followed by a home series against Tennessee from April 19-21. Ole Miss’ series against Tennessee is its first home SEC series in nearly three weeks.
Following a road doubleheader at Louisiana Tech on April 24, Ole Miss will close its SEC season with a home series against the SEC’s other newcomer, Texas A&M, from April 26-28.
The Rebels’ regular season will conclude May 1 with a doubleheader against Alcorn State before the SEC Tournament from May 9-11 in Lexington, Ky.
“We’re excited, because with the mix of all our newcomers and returners, it’s going to be a great year for us,” Thees said. “Our kids are really excited about the schedule. As soon as we got it finalized this summer we sent it out to them right away saying, ‘This is what we’re preparing for. While you’re at home on your own, this is what you need to be thinking about. You need to think about how we’re going to win this schedule.’ I know as a staff, we love to be challenged. That’s why we came here last year. We want to make Ole Miss a softball powerhouse, and this is how you do it. You have to beat the best to be the best.”
Rebels Announce Fall Schedule
Also on Wednesday, Thees and the Rebels announced to the 2012 fall schedule, featuring six home games at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
Ole Miss opens its fall schedule Sept. 29 with home games against Union University at 2:00 p.m. CT, and Volunteer State at 4:00 p.m.
The Rebels will play again Oct. 19 at 3:00 p.m. against Northeast Community College, and at 7:00 p.m. against Chattanooga State.
The fall schedule will conclude Oct. 20 with home games against Meridian at 3:00 p.m., and Holmes Community College at 5:00 p.m.
For all Ole Miss softball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans can follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and Coach Thees at @UMCoachThees, and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.