Ole Miss softball set for NCAA Salt Lake City Regional
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss softball received a bid to the NCAA Softball Championship and will compete in the Salt Lake City Regional, opening play against Baylor Friday, May 19 at Noon CT. This is the seventh-consecutive season the Rebels have received a bid.
Here are some news and notables:
• Playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, 61 percent (34 of 56) of Ole Miss’ 2023 games were against teams that made the NCAA Softball Tournament.
• The Rebels are 15-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, claiming a pair of regional titles in 2017 and 2019.
• Receiving its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid in 2016, Ole Miss has earned a spot in the “Big Dance” every season since.
• Ole Miss will debut its new Powder Blue uniforms at the Salt Lake City Regional.
• Senior Mikayla Allee has started 252 games in a Rebel uniform, the most by any player in Ole Miss history.
• Senior Tate Whitley earned SEC All-Defensive Team honors in left field after recording a perfect fielding percentage in conference play.
• Head coach Jamie Trachsel became the fastest to 100 career wins at Ole Miss earlier this season, needing only 159 games to accomplish the feat.
Baylor secured its 15th NCAA Tournament bid in program history after posting a 39-16 regular season. This marks the 10th appearance in the last 12 seasons for Baylor in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bears have advanced to at least a Super Regional six times and are 33-13 all-time in the first round of the tournament. Earning the No. 2 seed in the Salt Lake City Regional, Baylor is in the midst of one of its best seasons in program history, led by Big 12 Coach of the Year Glenn Moore.
The Bears boast six wins over top-five ranked opponents, including handing No. 1 Oklahoma its only loss of the season. Offensively, Shaylon Govan paces the team with a .382 mark at the plate and 11 home runs. In the circle, Dariana Orme and RyLee Crandall have split the workload. The Bears own a 2.44 staff ERA in 369.2 innings pitched. The Bears lead the all-time series with Ole Miss, but the Rebels won the most recent meeting 10-4 in Waco in 2021.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
SIU earned its spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time in program history and fourth since 2017. The Salukis received an automatic bid after claiming the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title with a 10-2 win over Indiana State.
Led by head coach Jen Sewell, they enter the Salt Lake City Regional as the No. 4 seed with a 36-18 overall record. Southern Illinois’ offense is led by five student-athletes hitting .300 or better.
Elizabeth Warwick leads the team with 60 hits, including 18 doubles, while Jackie Lis paces the team and ranks 17th nationally with 17 home runs. The Salukis pitching staff boasts a 3.77 team ERA led by Madi Eberle. She owns a 2.97 ERA and a 19-8 record through 172.1 innings pitched on the year.
The two teams met earlier this season at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Mexico, with the Rebels coming away with a lopsided 13-0 win in five innings. SIU, however, leads the all-time series with Ole Miss 5-4.
For the Utes, this marks their 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and their first since a 2017 campaign that saw them reach Super Regionals. Earning the No. 15 national seed in the tournament, Utah will host the Salt Lake City region at the Dumke Family Softball Stadium.
The Utes own a 26-24 record in the regional round and have advanced to the Supers in each of their past three postseason trips. Utah is fresh off winning the inaugural Pac-12 Softball Tournament title after taking down No. 2 UCLA.
A program record eight Utes earned conference honors led by Aliya Belarde, Ellessa Bonstrom, Abby Dayton and Mariah Lopez on the All-Pac-12 First-Team. As a team, Utah is batting .323 with 129 extra-base hits, including 42 home runs. Belarde leads the team with 49 runs scored and 66 hits.
In the circle, Lopez has been the star, boasting an 18-5 record and 2.33 ERA. Ole Miss is looking for its first win over Utah in program history. The Utes have claimed all three meetings, with the most recent in Puerto Vallarta in 2020.
For the seventh-consecutive season, Ole Miss has received a bid to the NCAA Softball Championship, competing in the Salt Lake City Regional. It is the Rebels’ second-ever trip to Salt Lake City and first for the postseason. Ole Miss will be joined in the regional by host and No. 15 national seed Utah, Baylor and SIU. The Rebels are 1-4 all-time against Baylor, earning their first win in 2021. They boast an 0-3 against host Utah and a 4-5 record against SIU, who they faced off against earlier this season in Puerto Vallarta.
Heading into the postseason, Ole Miss sits at 30-26 with the sixth best strength of schedule in all of Division I Softball. The Rebels finished the regular season with ranked wins over No. 10 LSU, No. 19 Auburn, No. 15 Kentucky, No. 21 Texas A&M, No. 14 Florida and No. 14 Alabama, as well as a series victory at Missouri.
Playing one of the toughest schedules in the sport, 61 percent (34 of 56) of Ole Miss’ 2023 games were against teams that made the 2023 NCAA Softball Tournament.
A MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
With a 5-3 win over No. 6 seed LSU at the SEC Tournament, Ole Miss picked up its 30th victory of the season. It marked the eighth consecutive 30 win season for the Rebels (excluding 2020), dating back to the 2015 season. Further, head coach Jamie Trachsel has tallied at least 30 wins in all but one season of her 13 year career.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
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.