No. 18 Ole Miss begins SEC play on the road at No. 7 Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, TX – Ole Miss begins conference play this weekend in College Station as the No. 18 Rebels take on No. 7 Texas A&M.
The first game, which can be seen via the WatchESPN app on SECN+, begins at 6:00 p.m. Friday, while Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. contest and Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. game will each be televised on the SEC Network.
The No. 18 Rebels look to right the ship, so to speak, as they enter the series on a two-game losing streak. Defeating the Aggies (19-3), who have won six of their last seven, would be a great way to get back on track.
The Rebels’ will go with ace Kaitlin Lee (8-1), who is no stranger to defeating a top-ranked team. Lee and the Rebels won a 1-0 game from then-No. 3 Oregon earlier this season, with Lee pitching an eight-inning, complete game in the victory.
Scouting the Aggies
Hitting: The Aggies’ offense is powerful, boasting a .317 team batting average and a .408 on-base percentage.
A&M is led by Sarah Hudek with a .414 average, followed by Ashley Walters at .383. Walters also ranks second on the team with 17 RBIs. Keeli Milligan is hitting at a .358 pace and has notched 15 steals in 16 attempts this season. Tori Vidales, who owns a team-best five home runs, leads the team with 28 RBI and is batting .344 on the season.
Pitching: The A&M pitching staff is formidable, as well. As a unit, they bring a 1.64 ERA into the series, holding the opposition to a .220 average.
Three Aggies are shouldering much of the load, as Samantha Show has pitched 51.1 innings, going 6-2 with a 2.59 ERA. Show has struck out 28 and walked 19. Trinity Harrington has notched 36.1 innings in the circle, going 5-1 with a 1.16 ERA and a 25-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Maddie MacGrandle is 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA in 28.1 innings pitched. Lexi Smith has tallied 18.1 innings and is 3-0, holding a 1.53 ERA.
Ole Miss’ projected starting lineup
Here is head coach Mike Smith’s projected starting lineup for the Rebels:
1. Elantra Cox | LF | .373, 19 hits
2. Kylan Becker | CF | .288, 15 hits
3. Celeste Wood | RF | .265, 5 RBIs
4. Autumn Gillespie | C | .341, 11 RBIs
5. Alex Schneider | 1B | .278, 8 RBIs
6. Amanda Roth | 3B | .208, 2 HRs
7. Abbey Latham | DP | .208, 4 RBIs
8. Ally Mena | 2B | .233, 7 RBIs
9. Paige McKinney | SS | .282, 11 hits
Pitcher | Kaitlin Lee | 8-1, 1.45 ERA
A&M and Ole Miss have only met 14 times, with the Aggies leading the all-time series at 12-2. However, four of the last five times the two teams have played, the games were decided by three runs or less.
Date: March 9-11, 2018
First Pitch: Friday – 6 p.m.; Saturday – 2:30 p.m.; Sunday – 1 p.m.
Location: College Station, Texas
Venue: Aggie Softball Complex
Series: Texas A&M leads, 12-2
Last Series: March 17-19, 2017 – No. 7 Texas A&M swept, 3-0, in Oxford
Ways to watch: Game 1: SECN+ | Games 2 and 3: SEC Network
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.