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Softball Rebels win Troy Classic, off to best start in school history

by | Feb 21, 2016 | Softball | 0 comments

In the opening weekend of the 2016 season, the Ole Miss softball team went on a tear in a tournament in Hawaii. A week later, it was a different body of water, but the same result.

Instead of dominating on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the Rebels rolled to a 4-1 record near the banks of the Pike County Lake in Troy, Ala., to win the Troy Classic.

Ole Miss is off to its best start in program history, 8-2, after dropping an opening game to McNeese (La.) State 2-1. The Rebels rebounded to win four straight games by a combined score of 26-8. The event’s finale was won by Ole Miss 8-0 over Eastern Illinois in five innings.

“I felt we rebounded after that tough loss and played some good softball,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith said. “And today our bats woke up, Bri Payne had a great day.”

Payne was 3-for-3 Sunday with a home run and a pair of runs batted in. Miranda Strother and Ashton Lampton each went 2-for-3 in the Rebels’ 14-hit attack over the Panthers.

As impressive as the Ole Miss hitters were, they paled in comparison to the job done by the Rebels’ pitchers.

Alyssa softball

Rebels’ LHP Alyssa Clayton gave up just three hits in the championship game win over EIU. (Photo credit: Ole Miss Athletics)

“I can’t say enough about our pitching staff this weekend, even in our loss we pitched a great ballgame, we just had some errors behind them,” Smith said. “But just a great job by our pitching staff this weekend.”

Alyssa Clayton surrendered just three hits in the shutout over EIU.

On the season, the Rebels have posted an earned run average of just 2.33. Senior Madi Osias has a team-high 20 strikeouts.

Offensively, five players are hitting over the .3oo mark, led by Hailey Lunderman who is batting at an even .500 clip. Lampton is hitting .429, while Strother is at .367 and Melina Preciado at .364.

The Rebels travel to Hattiesburg Wednesday for a doubleheader against Southern Miss, then will open the home schedule next weekend by hosting the Ole Miss Classic.

Northern Iowa, Stephen F. Austin and Texas-San Antonio will visit Oxford for the event.

(Feature image credit: Ole Miss Athletics)

Steve Barnes
Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for, and as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.

He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.

A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.

Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.

He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.

Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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