Ole Miss softball took two of three against Tennessee last weekend, winning the series. It was a critical series win for a team on the cusp of a top eight seed, and the Rebels got them dubs.
A lot of players contributed to the efforts Friday and Saturday with no one batter really dominating but the team stringing together nine hits Friday and six on Saturday (with one big first inning really winning the game for the Rebs).
Brittany Finney’s Friday appearance on the mound was pretty uncharacteristic with the senior allowing eleven hits in six innings but giving up just two earned runs. Molly Jacobsen was magnificent in her outings on Saturday and Sunday.
If there’s a problem to point out about the weekend, it’s that the team disappeared offensively Sunday, which led to a 1-0 lead heading into the sixth but ultimately a loss in extra innings. This Ole Miss team isn’t bad offensively. It just can’t afford to see some of its better hitters struggle, and that occasionally happens.
Gabby Alvarez may be the answer at first base
For most of the season, Brittany Finney has played first when she isn’t pitching, and recently she has had some problems at the plate. Noticing this, Mike Smith opted to pinch hit sophomore Gabby Alvarez at one point in game two, and Alvarez responded with an RBI double. Despite Finney not pitching game three, Smith once against opted for Alvarez (.273 in 40 appearances and 14 starts), and Alvarez responded with two of the Rebels’ four hits, including the team’s only RBI.
Obviously, the sample size over the weekend was small, but cumulatively Alvarez has 55 at-bats and is hitting .273 to Finney’s .201. She likely deserves to get some more chances, and that could help shift Finney’s focus to the mound, helping her to avoid tiring out. If nothing else, it’s clear Alvarez leads the race for first base next season after Finney graduates.
UGA is going to be a tough test
UGA just took a weekend series against #19 South Carolina (something the Rebels would have done too were it not for rain canceling the last game).
They’re paced by senior shortstop Alyssa DiCarlo with a .396 average and 21(!) home runs. She’s not the only Bulldog who can hit though, as Georgia is hitting .306 as a team and crushing 70 dingers.
They’re not exceptional on the mound, but they can’t be discounted there with a respectable 2.46 ERA (to the Rebels’ 1.96).
Suffice it to say, this isn’t an easy series, especially on the road.
You can see all the weekend’s games on the SEC Network. Remember: every SEC game this team wins at this point breaks the program record for SEC wins in a season (which was set with the first win last weekend). That’s a fun place to be in with three games remaining.