By Adam Brown
Ole Miss softball steps out of conference play this evening, traveling to Hattiesburg, Miss. to take on in-state rival Southern Miss. The first pitch is set for 5 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN +.
Ole Miss (13-11, 0-3 SEC) is coming off a tough weekend against No. 4 Tennessee that opened conference action.
Against Tennessee, sophomore Catelyn Riley returned to the circle after missing a month of action, tossing a two-hitter in the 1-0 series finale loss.
The Rebels pitching staff ranks 53rd nationally with a 2.27 earned run average. One of the nation’s top defenses back up the staff as they lead the SEC with 0.62 double plays per game and rank second with a .981 fielding percentage.
At the plate over the weekend, freshman Alia Lassiter hit her first collegiate home run, a two-run shot.
Southern Miss is off to a hot start to open with a 15-5 overall record. The Golden Eagles have already played two power-five opponents in 2023, falling to No. 9 Alabama, 5-0, and Georgia Tech, 1-0.
Sophomore Jana Lee leads the Golden Eagles with a .370 batting average on the season. She has a team-high 20 hits and 15 runs batted in. Junior Maria Smith ranks first on the team with 17 runs scored and 26 free passes.
In the circle, senior Morgan Leinstock leads Southern Miss. The righty boasts an 8-4 record on the year, including a pair of shutouts. She owns a 1.43 ERA through 73.1 innings pitched. As a team, the Golden Eagles have a staff ERA of 2.01.
The two teams were scheduled to play in Oxford last season, but both the original contest and the makeup date were canceled due to weather. Ole Miss leads the all-time series with Southern Miss 23-12, including a 9-5 mark in Hattiesburg.