OXFORD, Miss. — The upcoming NCAA Softball Regional in Oxford features some some pretty cool squads.
Ole Miss garnered the No. 11 national seed, earning the right to host the regional, but the other schools involved are not to be overlooked–neither for their talent, nor for the uniqueness of their institutions.
The Rebel Walk offers you these tidbits about the teams visiting Oxford this week:
Chattnooga comes into the regional with a 37-15 record, and they are a scrappy bunch. The Mocs illustrated that by beating North Carolina-Greensboro twice to win the Southern Conference Tournament.
Coached by Frank Reed in his 18th year at the school, Chattanooga has won by being balanced this season.
Junior Aly Walker leads the Mocs with a .368 average and has ripped 12 doubles. Catcher Amanda Beltran has supplied the power, blasting a dozen home runs this year, and Emily Coltharp has swiped 12 bases.
In the circle, Celie Hudson has amassed a 15-10 record while striking out 149 batters, and Alison Swinford is 10-4 with a 1.50 earned run average.
THE COOL STUFF ABOUT THE MOCS:
Alums: Not only does Chattanooga boast NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens as an alum, but also Hugh Beaumont who played Ward Cleaver on “Leave it to Beaver.” Also, chemist Irvine W. Grote. He came up with the active ingredient in both Rolaids and Bufferin. Pretty cool!
Something cool about the school: Although firmly entrenched in the South, from 1889-1907 the school was known as U.S. Grant Memorial University, Chattanooga campus.
Something cool about Chattanooga: The city has many nicknames, but one is “Gig City.” That refers to the claim Chattanooga has the fastest internet connections in the Western Hemisphere.
SOUTHEAST MISSOURI REDHAWKS
Mark Redburn’s club comes into the event at 45-16, but the Ohio Valley Conference is used to this stage. This season the Redhawks split a pair of games with Arkansas and dropped two to Missouri (both those SEC teams are in the tournament).
In order for any team to get past the Redhawks, it must deal with Rachel Anderson. The junior outfielder is as much of an offensive force as any player in the country. First, she is hitting .455 with 12 doubles and nine triples, and then add to that her 13 homers and 55 runs batted in. Oh, did we mention she has also stolen 23 bases?
Anderson is not the only SEMO weapon, however. Ashley Ellis has ripped 16 home runs, Claudia Gallo 11 and Sarah Messex ten.
Haley Thogmartin has struck out 137 batters on her way to a 22-6 record and a 1.75 ERA. Sophomore Rachel Rook is 10-4 and has fanned 97 in just 83 2/3 innings of work.
THE COOL STUFF ABOUT THE REDHAWKS:
Alums: One famous graduate is a guy named Cedric Kyles, but most people know him as Cedric the Entertainer. Also former SEMO offensive lineman Dan Connolly was a starter for one of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl Championships.
Something cool about the school: The school’s student newspaper is called “The Arrow.” Its second editor was Rush Limbaugh, Sr., who went on to be a lawyer in Cape Girardeau and lived to ripe old age of 104. His grandson is the radio show host who also attended Southeast Missouri.
Something cool about Cape Giardeau: Located on the Mississippi River, the town is known as, “Cape Girardeau: Where the River Turns a Thousand Tales” due to the history of the town and the Mississippi River. It is also the biggest city between St. Louis and Memphis.
LOUISIANA RAGIN’ CAJUNS
In coach Gerry Glasco’s second season, yes, second season, Louisiana is the only 50-win team in the tournament (top-seeded Oklahoma has 49). The Ragin’ Cajuns could be the most dangerous team in the field.
Not only did Louisiana finish undefeated in every game in the Sun Belt Conference all season, but it comes into the regional riding a 27-game winning streak. If anyone is wondering, one of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ losses this year was to Oklahoma.
Speaking of the Sooners, OU transfer Alissa Dalton is leading Louisiana, hitting at a .403 clip with 11 doubles.
A couple of Texas A&M transfers have also contributed to the offense in Lafayette. Junior Sarah Hudek has hit 11 home runs, while senior Keeli Milligan has 59 stolen bases—ranking her second nationally in stolen bases per game.
But hitting is not even the team’s strength. Junior Summer Ellyson has a microscopic 0.98 ERA on her way to a 37-4 record. She leads the nation in win percentage at .902 and has collected 324 strikeouts. Again, that is THREE HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR, third-most in the nation.
As a team, Louisiana boasts a 1.37 ERA.
THE COOL STUFF ABOUT THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Alums: There is of course “Louisiana Lightning” Ron Guidry who won the 1978 Cy Young Award for the New York Yankees. But among the school’s Distinguished Faculty Members are chef Paul Prudhomme and John Kennedy Toole, author of the renowned, “A Confederacy of Dunces.”
Something cool about the school: Sorry Florida Gator fans, you were too late. Cajun Field on the Louisiana campus was called “The Swamp,” before Steve Spurrier even got to Gainesville. And these guys deserve it — the football field is two-feet below sea level.
Something cool about Lafayette: Of course Louisiana is know for its Cajun cuisine, but in Lafayette there is a place that goes over-and-beyond. Visitors to the town know to make a stop at Prejeans for not only some of the best food in Louisiana, but in the country. Order the fried platter with sides of gator and boudin.
All-Session books are on sale now. All reserved seats will be allocated based on Red priority points and Rebel Reward softball points. (Click here for ticketing info.)
Sunday, May 12 – Online sales begin at OleMissTix.com
Monday, May 13 at 5 p.m. – Priority deadline for reserved seats
Thursday, May 16 at 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Tickets and parking passes available for pick up at Tad Smith Coliseum Ticket Office
Thursday, May 16 at 5 p.m. – General Admission single game tickets available at OleMissTix.com, if available
Friday, May 17 at 8 a.m. until mid-4th inning of second game – tickets and parking available for pick up at Tad Smith Coliseum
NCAA Regional Books:
Reserved – $45
General Admission – $30
Students – $20
Regional parking passes are $30 each. Limited parking passes will be available for sale and orders will be allocated based on Blue priority points.
Ole Miss Soccer Lot
Gillom Athletic Performance Center
Tuohy Basketball Center
First come, first served public parking will be available at all non-reserved lots.