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Weekend Review: Rebels Sweep Red & Blue Classic

The Ole Miss softball team won all five games and outscored its opponents 20-5 this weekend at the Red and Blue Classic at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The Rebels shut out Bowling Green, Buffalo and Northern Colorado in the first three games of the tournament and then closed the tournament with wins over Saint Louis and Tennessee Martin.

"All in all, the pitching staff did a really good job this weekend, pitching into the defense and getting a lot of strikeouts," head coach Windy Thees said. "RT (Cantillo) continues to hit over .500, and Haley Culley made some outstanding defensive plays all weekend."

Ole Miss hit .325 and scored 20 runs on 40 hits for the weekend. The Rebels' two leading hitters, senior outfielder RT Cantillo and junior third baseman Allison Brown, continued to swing the bat well. 

Cantillo had a hit in each of the five games, which included a 3-for-4 game against Northern Colorado. Brown went 5-for-16 for the weekend, highlighted by a two-RBI single in a 2-0 win over Northern Colorado. Culley also had a stellar weekend at the plate, going 7-for-16 for the weekend with three multi-hit games.

On the mound, Ole Miss posted more strikeouts (32) than hits allowed (25) for the weekend. The Rebels used five pitchers and allowed just five runs -- four earned -- on 25 hits with 12 walks and 32 strikeouts over 34 innings of work. 

Senior right-hander Shelby Jo Fenter won a pair of games, as she allowed just two runs on nine hits with seven walks and 14 strikeouts, which included 6.2 scoreless innings against Bowling Green. Fellow senior right-hander Carly Hummel earned a win and two saves in eight scoreless innings for the weekend, highlighted a complete game shutout against Buffalo.

"It's a lot of fun to pitch with a staff this year," Thees said. "All of our kids are super talented. They do a good job of attacking the strike zone. They have some nasty stuff and are very different. For me, it's kind of fun to go to somebody else who may be different than the person who started on the mound, and we did that a lot this weekend."

With a doubleheader sweep at Southern Miss followed by a five-game sweep at the Red and Blue Classic, the Rebels have won seven in a row and improve to 11-6 on the season. Their current seven-game winning streak is two shy of equaling the longest winning streak in program history, which they tied a season ago.

"We're still growing," Thees said. "We're still trying to figure some things out. There are still some consistency issues at the place. I would like our hitter to be better at swinging at their pitches early in the count. We're getting there. I saw more of that this weekend."

Rebels Back To .500 Entering Home Tournament

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With a doubleheader sweep on the road at Southern Miss on Tuesday, the Ole Miss softball team improved to 6-6 on the season as it comes home to play its first home games of the season at the annual Red and Blue Classic from Friday-Sunday.

"It's tough because we lost a lot of one-run ball games, and if we cleaned up some mistakes in some of those games, or scored some of the runners that we left on base, we would have won some more games," head coach Windy Thees said.

"Overall, if you look at our offense, we're doing really well. We just need to make sure we're scoring the runners when we get on base. Pitching-wise, we're keeping our team in ball games. We need to get the big out with a runner on instead of putting pressure on our defense. Defensively, we have had some great games, but we need to come up with the big play in the infield and outfield. We have made more mistakes this year than I'm used to, but part of that is because we have more drop-ball pitchers and we don't have as my pop-ups or fly balls."

The Rebels are hitting .317 and averaging 4.1 runs per game, led by senior outfielder RT Cantillo and junior third baseman Allison Brown. Cantillo leads the Southeastern Conference with 23 hits on the season, and her team-high batting average of .575 ranks second in the league. Brown is tied for second in the SEC with 16 hits, while her .381 batting average is third on the team.

Through 12 games, Ole Miss has left 88 runners on base, an average of 7.3 per game. Thees said she wants her team to embrace the opportunity and make the great play in situations such as hitting with runners on base.

"Sometimes we're getting some great hits, but we're getting unlucky," Thees said. "A lot of times the kids are putting too much pressure on themselves and not being patient and selective enough to get their pitch early in the count. 

"We're working on that. It's early-season excitement, getting in the box, wanting to come through and seeing the game too big, instead of really small, looking for something up and out so I can drive it opposite field to score the runner."

In the circle, Ole Miss has posted a 2.48 ERA with 39 runs scored -- 28 earned -- on 66 hits with 34 walks and 69 strikeouts. Four pitchers have started games for the Rebels. 

The most consistent option has been senior right-hander Shelby Jo Fenter, who holds a team-best 1.24 ERA in 22.2 innings of work, including a team-high 28 strikeouts. Another right-hander, redshirt freshman Emily Gaitan, is second on the team with a 1.43 ERA in 14.2 innings of work and also leads the team with a .156 opponents' batting average.

"It's nice to have so many options, and they're all four very different pitchers," Thees said. "Part of it is tough because they all need to get more time on the mound, and they're not getting as much as they're used to. 

"I like that we can mix pitchers, so I definitely plan on using my whole staff throughout the season. We don't have that staff where we are going to ride one pitcher like some teams do for the whole season."

Ole Miss opens the three-day, five-game tournament Friday against Bowling Green at 6:00 p.m. On Saturday, the Rebels play back-to-back games at 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. against Buffalo and Northern Colorado, respectively. Ole Miss will close the tournament Sunday with games against Saint Louis (1:30 p.m.) and UT Martin (3:45 p.m.)

"It's always exciting for our players and for us as a staff to play in front of our friends, our family, Ole Miss and the community we have here," Thees said. "Our girls are very excited to be at home and play on the field that we practice on and that we know so well. Hopefully we can make everyone proud."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

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    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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