Rebels look to get back on track in SEC play this week

Posted on Mar 28 2017 - 8:01am by Maggie Crouch

Ole Miss has had a tough start to its SEC play after No. 19 Tennessee swept it this past weekend in Knoxville after No. 7 Texas A&M left Oxford with a sweep on opening weekend of SEC play.

The Rebels lost 8-0 in the opener on Friday night, 6-1 on Saturday and dropped a tightly contested series final 4-1 on Sunday against the Volunteers. Ole Miss ran out a different starting lineup for all three games and has gone nine straight contests with a different starting nine but was unable to find a combination.

In the game on Sunday where it held Tennessee best, Ole Miss out-hit the Volunteers 5-3, but the timely hit eluded it, as it was only able to push one run across and plated just two total runs on the weekend against some stout pitching from Tennessee.

Despite their rough weekend on the road, there were some bright spots for the Rebels amongst a few players both on the mound and at the plate. Junior right-hand pitcher Kaitlin Lee struck out a career-high seven batters in her 4.1 innings of work on Friday, and on Sunday, junior out fielder Elantra Cox stole her 20th base of the season, putting her just five stolen bases away from tying the Ole Miss school record of 75.

After losing to Tennessee, this brings Ole Miss its sixth straight conference loss to open the year, after getting off to a 21-3 start in non-conference play and earning the program’s first top 25 ranking in school history.  Although the Rebels have gotten off to a sluggish start to conference play, it should be noted that each of their first two series have come against teams that currently are in the top four of the SEC standings. Ole Miss will get a bit of a breather with series against Kentucky and at Auburn before having to face LSU and then travel to SEC frontrunner Florida in a couple of weeks.

The Rebels’ last two losses to Texas A&M could have gone either way, and the team was competitive in Knoxville, but the timely hit hasn’t been there in the first two weeks of conference play for this team. The upcoming series will be a chance for Ole Miss to get its feet underneath it a bit and improve its conference record before the daunting matchups against LSU and Florida.

This week begins with a midweek game at the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on the road in Alabama on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Jacksonville State has a 21-9 record overall, just barely giving Ole Miss the edge with its 22-9  mark. After the midweek matchup, it will be back home as it continues on in the early stages of SEC play.

Ole Miss will then welcome the Wildcats this weekend for its second home SEC series and will go for its first conference win of the season. The Rebels have not won a series over the Wildcats since 2006 and will look to get back on track at home during this four-game week.