The Rebels entered last weekend’s series at No. 15 Georgia needing just one win to clinch a first-round bye. Furthermore, sweeping the Bulldogs (and LSU taking 2-of-3) would have won Ole Miss the overall SEC title(!!!).
Instead, the Rebels were swept and finished as the five-seed for the SEC tournament. There were a lot of weird things that happened during that series, which we won’t really rehash here. I’m not going to pretend to understand whether Brittany Finney was guilty of throwing 13 illegal pitches over the weekend, but Softball America talked about it here. The timing and frequency of those calls does seem weird but whatever.
The Rebels didn’t ultimately get it done, but they have a chance to make up for that in College Station. Mike Smith said recently in an interview that he thought the Rebels needed to win at least two to earn one of the sixteen regional host sites. They get its first chance tonight as the Rebels face the winner of Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
Molly Jacobsen will probably start things off in game one.
Jacobsen, a junior college transfer, had a great first year in Oxford, sporting a 1.76 ERA. She gets a lot of movement on her pitches, and she can generally locate them consistently in the strike zone. Jacobsen doesn’t have an overpowering fastball or anything, but she does a great job of getting ahead of batters and racking up strikeouts (sixth in the conference).
She also stands in contrast to Finney, who throws heat all the time blowing it past a lot of hitters. Mike Smith is likely a little gun shy of deploying Finney first, based on what happened last weekend. The last thing he wants is for this team to get into its own head and worry about whether 10 more of their outs will be nullified again. For that reason, it’s probably best for Jacobsen to start things off.
We want the Aggies.
While Ole Miss did manage to win two of three games against Mississippi State this season, it would still be better to take on Texas A&M tonight, as the Aggies are just 6-12 in conference play. They have just two everyday starters hitting over .300 and have a team ERA of 3.79.
That, coupled with the fact that facing a team you’ve already played three times is a crap shoot, leads me to think Mike Smith is hoping A&M comes out the victor in today’s 10 AM match up.
How to Watch:
No matter who wins this morning, the Rebels will be playing tonight at 8 CT. Catch the game on the SEC Network (like, the real one). Support this team as they continue to break records.