By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss softball team travels to the Lone Star State to take part in the Texas Invitational this weekend. The Rebels will face Tulsa at 11 a.m. then step back onto the diamond against Sam Houston State at 1:30 p.m. Games will be on the Longhorn Network.
Ole Miss (6-3) is coming off of a 3-2 weekend in the Golden State at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. During their stay in Southern California, the Rebels defeated UC Riverside, Cal Poly and Oregon State.
Head Coach Mike Smith picked up his 900th career victory in the win over Oregon State. He is two wins shy of becoming the school’s all-time winningest coach.
In the five-game stint, Kylan Becker and Abby Latham were on fire at the dish. Becker hit a .563 clip as she scored six runs. Latham delivered a base knock in half of 12 at-bats with a pair of doubles, a home run and six RBIs.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane enter the weekend after losing their first three games by a combined 34-3 margin. Tulsa has rebounded with seven-consecutive wins, sitting at 7-3 on the season. Ole Miss will be the second SEC competition of the season for the Golden Hurricanes after losing twice to LSU, 19-1 and 11-0.
A two-time All-American Athletic Conference honoree and one-time NFCA All-Region player, senior outfielder Julia Hollingsworth has led the way for Tulsa with a .543 batting average, three triples, 10 runs scored and six RBIs, posting an impressive .714 slugging percentage. Senior infielder Morgan Neal has also been productive for the Golden Hurricanes, sitting at .323 at the plate with four doubles, matching Hollingsworth’s six runs driven in.
For the first time in four years, Tulsa is without All-American pitcher Emily Watson, with the rest of the Golden Hurricane pitching staff looking to fill Watson’s shoes. Freshman Chenise Delce has logged a majority of the innings, recording 28.0 frames in the circle. Delce is 3-1 on the season in four starts, posting a 1.50 ERA with 30 strikeouts to just six walks. Sophomore Samantha Pochop has made four appearances and three starts, recording a 3.23 ERA with 24 strikeouts and only three walks, while junior Kassidy Scott has earned a 6.53 ERA in her 15.0 innings, making six appearances.
Sam Houston State is 5-6 on the season. In its most recent action, SHSU defeated Texas State in a road matchup, upending the Bobcats 4-3 in eight innings.
Sophomore outfielder Karlee Canada leads the Bearkats with a .353 batting average, while freshman infielder Kyndal Kutac is close behind at .333, leading SHSU with three home runs. Despite boasting just a .250 batting average, sophomore infielder Brooke Malia paces Sam Houston State with 11 runs driven in, knocking five extra-base hits with three doubles and a pair of homers.
The Bearkats have had three primary pitchers share time in the circle this season, with senior Lindsey McCleod leading the way with 31.1 innings of work. McCleod has posted a 2-4 record with a 3.73 ERA. Freshman Regan Dunn has appeared in six games with three starts, posting a 3.57 ERA in 22.2 frames, while junior Karina Sanchez has pitched 15.0 innings with a 1.20 ERA.
Fans can watch both of Friday’s games live on the Longhorn Network.