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Softball heads to UCLA for super regional

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It’s Bears vs. Bears in Hollywood with a College World Series berth on the line.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

The 12th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels will take on the 5th-ranked UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles over the next two or three days. Whichever team is the first to two wins advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. Beating UCLA twice will be tough, but the Rebels have proven their doubters wrong all postseason, going 7-0 so far. Who’s to say they can’t do it again?

But, yeah, it’s going to be tough. The Bruins are 45-13 on the season and are No. 3 in the RPI. They have seven players hitting over .300, despite playing in the grueling Pac-12. Their team ERA is 2.54, and ace Rachel Garcia, who will pitch at least twice, sports an ERA of just 1.84. The team has also hit SEVENTY-FIVE home runs compared to just 31 for the Rebels. Ole Miss is going to have to manufacture some base-runners in these games, since I just don’t think, as good as Kaitlin Lee has been lately, they’re going to be able to keep the Bruins from some occasional big innings.

One thing that will help alleviate some of the pressure of the big stage: momentum. Mike Smith’s club swept through the Oxford Regional last weekend with relative ease, outscoring its three opponents 17-2. They are also currently on a seven-game winning streak after sweeping through the SEC Tournament and winning their very first title the week before. Since that tournament in Knoxville began, the Rebs are hitting .335 as a team, including a .368 clip in the regional in Oxford. Ole Miss will need to keep that momentum rolling and to continue to play with relentless passion like they have all year long.

The numbers

Complete Ole Miss stats | Complete UCLA stats

How to watch

Thursday

First pitch: 8 p.m. CT

TV: ESPN

Online streaming: WatchESPN.com

Projected pitchers

Ole Miss: RHP Kaitlin Lee (23-10, 1.70 ERA)

UCLA: RHP Rachel Garcia (20-7, 1.84 ERA)

Friday

First pitch: 8 p.m. CT

TV: ESPN

Online streaming: WatchESPN.com

Projected pitchers

Ole Miss: RHP Kaitlin Lee (23-10, 1.70 ERA)

UCLA: RHP Rachel Garcia (20-7, 1.84 ERA)

Saturday (if necessary)

First pitch: 8 p.m. CT

TV: ESPN

Online streaming: WatchESPN.com

Projected pitchers

Ole Miss: TBA

UCLA: TBA