Ole Miss softball will participate in the Florida Atlantic University Strike Out Cancer Tournament this weekend from Feb. 19-21 after going 2-2 during their spring season debut. The Rebels clutched a pair of wins against the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers and the Belmont Bruins in the Trojan Classic last weekend with two losses against the Troy Trojans and one loss against the Blazers.
The Rebels are set to play teams such as Iowa State and FAU at the tournament with the first game against Iowa State on Friday, Feb. 19. The game against the Cyclones will be a reunion for Ole Miss’s new head coach Jamie Trachsel, who served as head coach for the Cyclones in 2017.
While the Rebels hold a current 2-2 overall record, the Cyclones have a 5-0 overall record while the FAU Owls have a 1-3. The Cyclones beat teams such as South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Butler, Omaha and Drake at the Doc Halverson Uni Dome Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa, last weekend. In addition, the Cyclones will bring back their entire young pitching staff that had a combined earned run average of 3.18 last season.
In Ole Miss softball’s last match against the Cyclones in February 2015, the Rebels defeated Iowa State in six innings with a score of 13-5.
Meanwhile, the FAU Owls played in the Feldsburg Invitational against Florida International University and Winthrop last weekend, losing three and winning one of the games. Leaders for the Owls include senior pitcher Kara Lokeinsky, catcher Kaitlyn Burke and outfielders Gretchen Ebert and Fayth Davis.
The last time Ole Miss played against FAU was in February of 2010 when the Rebels fell 2-0 to the Owls after giving up two early runs.
One leader for the Rebels this season is senior Jessica Puk, as she became the first Rebel to drive in eight runs in the team’s first three games since 2010. The Iowa native posted a .385 average with a 1.154 slugging percentage over the weekend. Puk also led or tied in the SEC with eight runs batted in, 15 total bases and three home runs, which ranks second in the league.
In addition to Puk, junior outfielder Tate Whitley leads the Rebels with a .500 batting average and had a pair of hits in three of the four games.
The first match of this weekend’s tournament is set to start at 10 a.m. in Boca Raton, Fla., on Friday, Feb. 19 versus Iowa State. The next match of the day will be at 12:30 p.m. against FAU.