By Trevor Terminie
Ole Miss Softball Head Coach Jamie Trachsel was hired almost one full year ago, and as her first regular season is winding down, the Rebels seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.
Halfway through SEC play, the Rebels are 23-13, with a 6-6 record in the SEC, including a sweep of in-state rival Mississippi State and a series win over then No. 17 Georgia. Coach Trachsel likes where her team is headed going into the final five weekends of the season, including four series in the SEC.
“We are playing more consistently as a team, which is a direct correlation to the outcome of a lot of our games,” Trachsel said. “Each week, we have gotten better as a team.”
The pitching staff has been the brightest spot for Trachsel’s squad this season.
“There is no question that they have been the leaders of our team in their performances,” Trachsel said. “Anna Borgen and Savannah Diederich have had a lot of the innings and have done a really good job for us.”
For the season, Borgen has an 8-4 record with 1.46 ERA, striking out 58 batters while only walking 13. Diederich’s stats are even more impressive, tallying 103 strikeouts and walking only 24.
Of course, pitching only goes so far without a phenomenal defense. The defense behind the pitchers have been fantastic in limiting the damage done by opposing batters.
“Mikayla Allee, our shortstop, is a lockdown defender,” Trachsel said. “Autumn Gillespie, our catcher, is an elite catcher. She is an incredible receiver defensively and defends the running game well and thinks like the coach.”
Allee and Gillespie have been outstanding staples in the field, each recording only one error on the season. Moreover, the left side of the diamond, including Allee and third baseman Paige Smith, has been tested this season, but Trachsel is proud of how they have responded.
“They have done a really good job of controlling our infield,” Trachsel said.
On the offensive side, Trachsel’s squad is averaging just under five runs per game, but in the clutch, the Rebels have been able to score. Paige Smith has been the focal point of the Rebel offense this season, leading the team in home runs (10) and RBIs (28).
“Paige has had a lot of big hits in big moments,” Trachsel said. “She has the ability to change the game with one swing, and, fortunately for us, some of her home runs have actually changed the momentum of games.”
Smith has not been the one hitter to come up big in clutch moments.
“We have had some timely hits and hits that have made a difference, including Autumn [Gillespie] with the walk-off against Georgia,” Trachsel said.
Smith, Gillespie, Abbey Lantham, and Jessica Puk are the four power hitters on the Ole Miss roster, accounting for 24 of the team’s 36 home runs and 83 RBIs.
“We have been really balanced,” Trachsel said. “That is one thing that has contributed to our success offensively. We have not been very one-dimensional. We have also had great success from our 7-8-9 to roll it over to give our top of the lineup opportunities to get RBIs.”
Trachsel has high expectations for the team for the remainder of the season as the push towards the postseason continues.
“We need to stay the course, continue to trust the process, and respect our opponents,” Trachsel said. “We must expect the rest of the season to be challenging and continue to play Ole Miss softball. If we do these things, we will put ourselves in a lot of good opportunities to win more games.”
Coach Trachsel and the Ole Miss softball team look to continue their success as they return to action this weekend for a home series against South Carolina.