#28 Ole Miss Softball 2020 Preview

Ole Miss Rebels
Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #10 SEC
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Mississippi is going through some changes on the sidelines. Coach Mike Smith resigned in December after being placed on administrative leave in November while the school conducted an audit of the program. Ruben Felix will be the interim coach during this season. He has been an assistant at Ole Miss for the previous five seasons so the hope is that the transition will go smoothly. The Rebels have some momentum too after reaching the Super Regionals last season.
2019: 41-20, 13-10
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Ruben Felix
Key Departed Players:
Kylan Becker, OF, .426 BA, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 34 SB
Brittany Finney, P, 2.70 ERA, 18-10 W/L, 147.2 IP, 129 SO
Key Returning Players:
Abbey Latham, 1B/DP, .330 BA, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 17 SB
Tate Whitley, OF, .290 BA, 12 RBI
Kaylee Horton, UTL, .289 BA, 28 RBI, 23 SB
Jessica Puk, UTL, .250 BA, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 11 SB
Autumn Gillespie, C, .243 BA, 5 HR, 25 RBI
Molly Jacobsen, P, 2.15 ERA, 14-8 W/L, 166.1 IP, 166 SO
Ava Tillmann, P, 1.99 ERA, 8-2 W/L, 74.0 IP, 43 SO
Molly Jacobsen was the workhorse in the circle last season, tallying 166.1 innings pitched. She went 14-8 with a 2.15 ERA. Ava Tillmann will be asked to play a larger role and help replace Brittany Finney. As a sophomore last season Tillmann made 24 appearances and posted a 1.99 ERA in 74.0 innings. With those two and plenty of experienced depth from players like Anna Borgen and transfer Lindsey Johnson, Ole Miss should be in great shape in the circle. The offense returns just about everybody, but losing Kylan Becker is a big blow. She hit .426 last season and scored 55 runs. Abbey Latham is a great piece to build around and she hit .330 with 10 homeruns, 54 RBIs and 17 stolen bases last season. But without Becker on base all of the time, it will not be quite as easy to drive in that many runs again in 2020. Tate Whitley and Kaylee Horton have proven to be consistent hitters and Jessica Puk and Autumn Gillespie have some power. If everybody can pick up their game a little bit, replacing Becker is possible and that should be enough to get Ole Miss back to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament