#36 Ole Miss Softball 2019 Preview

Ole Miss Rebels
Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #13 SEC
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Under the leadership of Coach Mike Smith, Ole Miss has turned into a consistent program in the SEC. The Rebels have now gone to three straight NCAA Tournaments and made one Super Regional during that span. In the 2018 tournament Mississippi reached the Regional Final, but was outmatched by host Arizona State. This is not a team that will compete for an SEC title, but they can win enough conference games to get another crack at reaching the Super Regionals in 2019.
2018: 32-25, 7-17
2018 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Smith
Key Departed Players:
Elantra Cox, OF, .320 BA, 13 RBI, 27 SB
Paige McKinney, IF, .288 BA, 7 RBI, 13 SB
Alex Schneider, 1B, .202 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI
Kaitlin Lee, P, 2.49 ERA, 18-14 W/L, 188.1 IP, 84 SO
Key Returning Players:
Kylan Becker, OF, .329 BA, 12 BRI 17 SB
Kylee Horton, UTL, .276 BA, 18 RBI, 9 SB
Autumn Gillespie, C, .262 BA, 3 HR, 30 RBI
Brittany Finney, 1B, .250 BA, 4 HR, 19 RBI
Ava Tillman, P, 3.03 ERA, 4-4 W/L, 64.2 IP, 30 SO
Ana Borgen, P, 2.75 ERA, 4-5 W/L, 61.0 IP, 32 SO
Coach Smith continues to bring talent into the program and a host of newcomers like Oregon transfer Alyssa Pinto and NJCAA Division II Player and Pitcher of the Year Kelsha Loftin and Molly Jacobsen, respectively, will help fill a few holes. The Rebels lost a little speed on the basepaths, but the return of Kylan Becker and Kylee Horton should keep this team among the best at stealing bases in the SEC. Those two also hit for a high average and will get on base regularly. It will be largely up to catch Autuman Gillespie and first baseman Brittany Finney to drive them home. Much of the success or failure of this group will lie on the shoulders of sophomore pitchers Ava Tillman and Ana Borgen. Those two both played well last year, but also had Kaitlin Lee leading the way. Now Lee is gone and Tillman and Borgen will have to be more consistent. If those two can keep developing and emerge as a potent duo in the circle, Ole Miss will continue their NCAA Tournament streak.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament