The Ole Miss softball team is set to host three teams in the Ole Miss Classic this weekend.
Jackson State, California Baptist and Missouri State come to Oxford on Friday for the ten-game tournament. Each team will face the other three once before the teams are reseeded for the semifinals.
Ole Miss will face Jackson State and California Baptist in a doubleheader on Friday before taking on Missouri State on Saturday. The semifinals will take place Saturday evening. The championship game, as well as a consolation third-place game, will be played on Sunday.
The Rebels are 6-10 this season after a solid performance at the Blazer Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, last weekend. They also defeated North Alabama at home Wednesday in a come-from-behind victory.
Already 2-0 at home this season, they look to pick up some wins against weaker opponents in their last weekend before SEC play.
None of the teams in the tournament have records above 0.500, but California Baptist and Missouri State both had narrow defeats against ranked opponents earlier in the season.
Jackson State is 6-7 on the young season, having gone 2-2 in their previous tournament. The Tigers have been plagued by inconsistency this season; eleven of their 13 games were decided by five runs or more. Three of those games were decided by margins of ten runs or more.
They play just two power conference teams this season including Friday’s tilt with Ole Miss. Their other matchup came against Texas Tech in New Orleans on Feb. 7 when the Red Raiders came away with a 5-1 victory.
California Baptist is 5-10 this season and faces a far more difficult non-conference slate than Jackson State.
The Lancers were one of six schools who participated in the second session of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge along with Ole Miss, No. 3 Texas, No. 20 Tennessee, Colorado State and Utah. They fell to both ranked teams but came away with a 4-2 victory over the Rebels and a 4-3 win over Colorado State.
They broke a six-game losing streak on Wednesday when they defeated San Diego State 1-0 at home (Aztecs fans can rest easy knowing their men’s hoops team is still top-5 in the nation).
Missouri State enters Friday’s action having played only nine games this season. The Bears are 3-6 but have not played since Feb. 15 when they lost the second half of a doubleheader against North Texas after defeating UT-Martin earlier in the day.
They participated in the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic on opening weekend, one of three schools in the 15-team field that did not hail from a power conference. Their only game against a ranked opponent came on Feb. 7 when they were narrowly defeated in a 1-0 loss to No. 18 Minnesota.
The Bears are sure to be rusty after taking nearly two weeks off, but they may be the toughest competition for the Rebs come Saturday.
Ole Miss is in a position to get themselves above .500 for the first time this season with an undefeated weekend, but needs to be locked in against multiple underrated mid-majors if they want to get back on track before conference play begins.
The Rebels start their weekend against Jackson State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Ole Miss softball complex.