By Adam Brown
UM Athletics recently released the 2020 softball 55-game schedule that will kickstart this spring. The team will try to build on the accomplishments of last season without the direction of Mike Smith, who resigned at the beginning of December amid an external audit of the program.
The Rebels will step between the chalk for 27 games at the Ole Miss Softball Complex while playing on the road 14 times and competing in 12 neutral site contests. Ole Miss will take part in four tournaments, three away from home and one in Oxford under the guidance of interim coach Ruben Felix.
Ole Miss kicks off the 2020 season by heading to Clearwater, Florida for the NFCA Division 1 Leadoff Classic, hosted Feb. 7-9 at the Eddy C. Moore Complex. The Rebels will start things off with back-to-back doubleheaders, facing Louisville and NC State on Friday and Illinois and Notre Dame on Saturday. The Rebs close out the tournament Sunday morning, taking on Liberty.
The following week, Ole Miss will take a trip south of the border to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, hosted Feb. 13-16. The Rebels will be tested during their stay, tasked with meetings with Colorado State, Utah, Cal Baptist and Texas in addition to an exhibition with the Mexican National Team. Ole Miss will be looking for similar success to the 2018 PV College Challenge when the Rebels took home the tournament title with a thrilling extra-inning walk-off over then-No. 3 Oregon.
Making their way a little closer to home, the Rebels will next head to Birmingham, Alabama, for the Blazer Classic, hosted Feb. 20-23 by UAB. Ole Miss will face off against another tough field featuring a pair of meetings with both Oklahoma State and Louisiana as well as a matchup with the host Blazers.
After spending the first three weeks of the season on the road, Ole Miss will make its home debut in Oxford on Feb. 26 welcoming North Alabama to the Ole Miss Softball Complex. Just a couple of days later, the Rebels will host Cal Baptist, Jackson State and Missouri State for the 2020 Ole Miss Classic, slated for Feb. 28 through March 1.
With tournament season in the rear-view mirror, Ole Miss hosts Central Arkansas for a non-conference matchup March 3 before opening up the SEC portion of its schedule with a three-game series March 6-8, battling Missouri in Columbia.
The Rebels head back to Oxford to prepare for an eight-game home stretch by hosting Youngstown State March 11 before hosting a weekend three-game series with the UCF Knights March 13-15. Ole Miss will battle ULM on March 17 before resuming SEC play with a three-game set against Texas A&M in Oxford March 20-22.
Ole Miss then makes the short drive up I-55 to face off against nearby neighbor Memphis in a mid-week tilt March 25. Before hitting the Sunshine State for a series with Florida, scheduled for March 28-30. Ole Miss secured its first series victory over the Gators since 2007 a year ago, just it’s third all-time. The following Wednesday, Ole Miss welcomes in Belmont for an evening contest under the lights. Before getting ready for a big weekend series with LSU April 3-5 in Oxford.
The Rebels will celebrate Easter weekend in Auburn, Alabama for the season’s lone Thursday-Saturday series of the year, facing off against the Tigers April 9-11. With one series against a Yellowhammer State foe complete, Ole Miss heads back to Oxford to square off against Alabama April 17-19. The following Wednesday, the Rebels stay home to take on UT Martin on April 22.
Ole Miss will then make its way north for the final SEC road trip of the year, facing Tennessee in Knoxville April 24-26 before making their way back to Oxford for a four-game stretch to wrap up the season.
With the regular season coming to an end Ole Miss concludes their non-conference schedule with a midweek matchup with Southern Miss on April 29, the final tune-up prior to the final league series of the year, a three-game tilt with Kentucky at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
The 2020 SEC Tournament will be hosted by Alabama May 6-9 at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, while NCAA Tournament action will kick off on May 14.