Softball team swings back into SEC play

With all the pomp and circumstance of the U.S. National Team's visit in the rear-view mirror, No. 9 Tennessee (40-7, 10-6 SEC) dives right back into the conference slate hosting Ole Miss (19-24, 3-17 SEC) for a mid-week doubleheader on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Lee Softball Stadium.

The Big Orange controls its series with the Rebels by possessing a 25-5 mark over the 30 all-time meetings between the two programs.

Tennessee is a perfect 12-0 at home versus Ole Miss with the last three-game set in Knoxville occurring on April 15-16, 2006, as UT downed Ole Miss 4-0, 9-3 and 3-1.

The two squads have already met once this season in a 2-0 Lady Vol victory at the USF Best Western Tournament back on Feb. 17. During that contest, UT utilized a squeeze bunt from freshman Chandra Mogan and a fielding error on the Mississippi catcher to plate two runs during a third inning rally.

In their most recent action, the Lady Vols dropped a hard-fought 4-2 decision to the U.S. National Women's Softball Team in an exhibition game last Saturday in front of a facility-high 1,622 fans at the Lee Softball Stadium.

Tennessee led 2-0 venturing into the third frame after solo home runs from senior Tonya Callahan and freshman Jen Lapicki off former UT All-American pitcher Monica Abbott. Team USA rebounded with a run in the third and three in the fifth, while Abbott controlled things from the circle, on the way to its 4-2 victory. Not counting the exhibition, the Big Orange enters the mid-week doubleheader with Ole Miss on a nine-game winning streak, its second longest skein of the campaign.

Under the direction of head coach Missy Dickerson, Ole Miss enters this week's action at Tennessee with a 19-24 record and just a 3-17 mark in SEC action. The Rebels are on a bit of an upswing, however, having gone 4-3 over their last seven match-ups including a pair of wins last weekend at then-No. 12 LSU.

Ole Miss is guided offensively by reigning SEC Player of the Week Lauren Grill. The Tualatin, Ore., native blasted three home runs last week, two at LSU, and enters play against UT leading the team in batting average (.364), home runs (9) and RBIs (37). Sophomore Ashley Dowdy (.274) and senior Lauren Rowe (.204) have contributed 14 and 13 RBIs, respectively.

Ole Miss is hitting .240 as a team to rate 10th out of 11 teams in the SEC, is plating 3.5 runs-per-contest and doesn't appear to be a big threat to steal with only 13 total thefts in its 43 matchups.

In the circle a trio of hurlers have helped limit the opposition to a .235 batting average (ninth in the league) while permitting 3.1 runs-per-game. Sophomore Becky Nye has received the most action throwing 127.1 frames with a 2.42 ERA and an 8-8 record. Senior Tara Willitt is 5-10 overall with a 2.58 ERA over 86.2 frames. The Okmulgee, Okla., product pitched exceptionally well against the Lady Vols back in February, allowing just one earned run and striking out 10 over six innings at the USF Tourney. Freshman Lindsey Perry has tossed 75.2 frames while posting a 2.13 ERA and a 6-6 mark.

Live stats will be available through, while periodic updates will be recorded on the Lady Vol Hotline (865-974-8700, box #6).

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