#30 Ole Miss Softball 2017 Preview

Ole Miss Rebels
Overall Rank: #30
Conference Rank: #10 SEC
Mississippi Logo
Since Mike Smith became head coach at Ole Miss in 2014 things have been looking up for the team. Last year things really started to gel and it became known as the team’s year of firsts, even having the hashtag #TeamOfFirsts on Twitter. The team used the formula of strong pitching from senior Madi Osias along with timely hitting to accomplish many of those firsts. That list of first included most wins ever by the team with 41, first SEC Tournament win and their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The fans also did their part supporting the team with a record-breaking year for attendance for Ole Miss softball.
2016: 41-22, 11-13
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Smith
Key Departed Players:
Madi Osias, P, 2.97 ERA, 186.1 IP, 137 SO
Natalie Martinez, C/DP, .256 BA, 4 HR, 20 RBI
Hailey Lunderman, IF, .371 BA, 0 HR, 17 RBI 
Key Returning Players:
Elisha Jahnke, P, 4.10 ERA, 111.0 IP, 63 SO
Alyssa Clayton, P, 1.60 ERA, 43.2 IP, 26 SO
Dakota Matiko, IF, .311 BA, 1HR, 19 RBI
Miranda Strother, OF, .322 BA, 4 HR, 31 RBI
Elantra Cox, OF, .357 BA, 0 HR, 16 RBI
Ashton Lampton, UT, .306 BA, 3 HR, 29 RBI
While Ole Miss is a young team and didn't lose too many key players from last season’s record setting year, they did lose one important part of their winning puzzle in workhorse pitcher Madi Osias, who pitched 186.1 of the team’s innings last year while compiling a 23-10 record.  Coach Mike Smith doesn't seem too concerned though. When I talked to him about Osias being gone this year he mentioned names like Alyssa Clayton, a JC transfer who went out in week three last season but is now 100% healthy, and Oklahoma transfer Brittany Finney, who Smith thinks can not only help their pitching but also will be a "great power hitter that could make a big impact in our offensive lineup." Ole Miss also has returning RHP Elisha Jahnke, who was 10-7 last season, to help carry the pitching load. Coach Smith has this team believing in themselves and I look for them to continue their success from last season and make it in to the NCAA Tournament again this year with an even deeper run then they had last year.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament


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