The No. 18 Ole Miss Rebels softball regular season ended on Sunday. Now it’s time for tournament play. The Rebels will begin their quest for an SEC Title on Wednesday as the no.8 seed in the tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee.
In the first game of the SEC tournament, the Rebels (36-18, 10-14 SEC) will step in between the chalk and face the ninth-seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. and will be on SEC Network.
Coach Mike Smith’s club comes into the tournament after winning a series at Missouri over the weekend. Junior Elantra Cox rewrote the record books at Ole Miss, recording her 77th hit, a single-season record.
Her teammate Kaitlin Lee was dominate in the circle, taming the Tigers offense over the weekend.
Mississippi State heads into the SEC Tournament as the No. 9 seed after also earning a 10-14 conference record. The Bulldogs won four of their eight series overall, including four of the last five, en route to a 36-19 overall record in the regular season. MSU wrapped up play last weekend at home vs. No. 16 Kentucky, taking two of three games there, and also won series’ over No. 24 Arkansas, No. 19 Georgia, and South Carolina. The Bulldogs did not face-off against Florida, Missouri, Tennessee or the Rebels in SEC weekend play, and went 1-8 against Alabama, LSU and Auburn, three teams Ole Miss beat a combined six times.
The Bulldogs’ offense is paced by four players at .300 or better, including Bevia Robinson’s .340 clip, and a .327 average from Reggie Harrison. Robinson leads the team in hits (55) and steals (29), while Harrison has drawn a team-high 28 walks. Caroline Seitz, a First Team All-SEC selection, leads the way with 44 RBI off nine home runs and 10 doubles, as she’s carried a .323 clip and .545 slugging mark. Overall MSU has nine players with double-digit RBI, as Olivia Golden is second on the club with 26 off 12 extra-base hits.
Alexis Silkwood has been the story in the circle for MSU, as she’s 15-6 with a 1.91 ERA. She’s thrown 150 innings and held opponents to a .234 average, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 102-44. Silkwood has gone the distance in 11 of her 19 starts, and also recorded five saves in her 35 overall appearances. Cassady Knudsen holds the team’s best ERA (1.67) and is 9-3 in 10 starts and 67 innings. Holly Ward is 7-9 with a 2.27 ERA in 17 starts, while Regan Green is 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in limited action.
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series over the Rebels 39-25. Mississippi State and Ole Miss played each other just once this season, a midweek game in March in which the Rebels won, 2-0.
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.