With the season quickly approaching, two of Ole Miss softball’s finest, Elantra Cox and Kylan Becker, were both named preseason All-SEC on Tuesday night. The Rebel outfielders were named to the 17-player team voted on by the conference’s head coaches and were the first two players in Ole Miss softball’s 22-year history to receive this preseason honor.
Coming off a season in which she led the SEC with 93 hits a year ago, Cox is looking to continue her efforts to fill the Ole Miss record books. Her total was the most in a single season, and Cox comes into her senior season in Oxford just seven hits shy of the school record of 216 base hits. Additionally, the electric outfielder produced a .429 batting average during the 2017 season, second-highest in school history, and her 51 runs added to the single-season record she surpassed a year ago.
While the Rebels’ lead off hitter is blazing a trail, she isn’t alone when it comes to offensive prowess. Alongside Cox in the batting order, Becker accounted for a much of the offensive success that led to the historic season for Ole Miss softball. The 2017 first team All-SEC outfielder hit for a .375 average on 75 hits, a number only second in school history to the person she hit behind in the lineup. Becker took advantage of Cox’s on-base percentage, driving in 31 runs and scoring 34 runs of her own on the season, and people took notice. She was also named to the USA Softball Japan All-Star Series roster earlier this month, making her the first Rebel in program history to represent Ole Miss on the national team.
Of the 17 players announced to the team, Ole Miss was tied for second in the conference with Auburn, Georgia and Texas A&M also having two players represented on the team, while early favorite Florida led the way with five players. Becker and Cox were two of the six outfielders named to the team.
The one-two punch of Becker and Cox at the top of head coach Mike Smith’s lineup was a large factor in the Cinderella run that ended in the Super Regional round of the postseason in a loss to the UCLA Bruins. With pitcher Kaitlin Lee and many others returning from last year’s group, Smith will look for a successful follow-up to the incredible run. Coming into the year, SEC media projected the Rebels to finish seventh in the conference, and the six teams ahead of them all finished in the top 15 of the final rankings at the end of last season. Certainly, if the Rebels are to meet or exceed the expectations, Becker and Cox will need to play as well as they did in 2017.