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Rebels Prepare for NCAA Tournament Action in Tempe Regional

Rebels prepare for NCAA Tournament regional in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Talbert Toole

The Ole Miss softball team opens up there third-straight run on Oklahoma City Friday night in the Tempe Regional hosted by the No. 8 national seed Arizona State Sun Devils. The Rebels will open up against Long Beach State Friday night at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

Ole Miss (30-23) received a bid into this year’s tournament after the way they finished the regular season by taking two-of-three from the Georgia Bulldogs.
“I think our resume was pretty good, of course, not as good as it was last year the way our RPI finished,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith said. “I mean, I know if we didn’t win those two games against Georgia, we are not talking right now. Our girls stepped up big and if that team shows up this weekend there is a good shot you will see us in Oklahoma City. It just depends on which team shows up and if we go all out and play like we are capable of doing.”
This post season the Rebels will begin their journey to the Women’s College World Series on the road something that the club is used to this season.
“I think just going on the road helps. We went on the road a lot this year mid weeks and weekends,” Smith said. “I think that helps and being able to hop on a plane and go out there. I think we are used to living out of suitcases for a few days. I think we are going to have a good fan base out there.”
Long Beach State closed out there regular season with a 42-12 overall record and a 16-5 mark in conference.
“Long Beach is a really good team,” Smith said. “They come from the west coast and those California [players] are really good out there and they get to play year round. They are a good hitting team and have some good pitching. I am looking for a really good game. It is a really good 2,3 matchup they probably were one or two games out from being a top 16 national seed maybe if they win the Big West and not finish second they are a top 16 seed and we may not be playing them.”
Over the past three seasons, the Rebels have played in the NCAA Tournament with a chance last season to almost make it to Oklahoma City if they could have gotten by UCLA in the super regionals.
“Any time that you are able to be in post season in the past it’s huge,” Smith said. “The only ones who have not experienced it is our freshman; the biggest thing is just calm their nerves and they have played in the SEC and played in the SEC Tournament in front of one or two thousand fans. We have tried to create an atmosphere where they can do that and when you play in the SEC it is like playing in a regional or super regional every weekend.”

Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.

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