By Adam Brown
Ole Miss softball opened the 2021 season Friday morning in Tory, Alabama, at the Trojan Classic. The Rebels will take the diamond against UAB, Troy and Belmont over the weekend. First pitch against UAB is set for 9:30 a.m.
When Ole Miss takes the field it will be the first game of head coach Jamie Trachsel’s career with the Rebels.
“It’s exciting that it is game week,” Trachsel said in a press conference. “We are looking forward to getting on the road opening up our 2021 season down at Troy. Starting the next chapter of the journey with our new team.”
This season, at the dish Ole Miss has Mikayla Allee, Autumn Gillespie, Jessica Puk and Sydney Guiterrez. All batted over .300 in 2020. It was the first time Ole Miss had at least four players finish a season above the .300 line since 2016, when Hailey Lunderman, Elantra Cox, Miranda Strother and Ashton Lampton accomplished the feat.
Gillespie is heading into her fourth season behind the plate for the red and blue. The Redlands, California, native has played in 140 games with 97 hits, 15 doubles, 6 triples, 13 home runs and 68 RBI. On defense, she has a .984 fielding percentage with 679 putouts, 70 assists and 12 errors in her career.
“She is an elite catcher and she has an elite skill set,” Trachsel said. “A ton of experience and a part of why this program has been successful. We are going to ask her to be a lockdown catcher, and that is who she is.”
UAB is picked to finish second in the C-USA West Division. The Blazers are led by catcher Sierra Frazier. The sophomore returns the highest batting average on the team after hitting .329 and slugging .610 to go along with 24 RBIs and 14 extra-base hits a year ago. Also in the green and gold is former Rebel Taylor Watford, who played with Ole Miss from 2019-20.