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April 21, 2006

COLUMBIA, S.C. – With only three more SEC series left to play, South Carolina softball returns home April 22-23 to host the Ole Miss Rebels. Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. at Beckham Field. Sunday’s game three is scheduled for noon. For the first 50 fans, senior puzzles will be given out at the admission gate.

The Gamecocks dipped below .500 for the first time this season after losing to No. 4 Tennessee earlier in the week. At 24-25 and 4-16 in the SEC, USC hopes to snap a five-game losing streak, while Ole Miss is 16-31, 3-17 in the SEC. The Rebels lost their last three conference games but is coming off of a midweek win over Mississippi Valley State.

South Carolina leads the series against the Rebels 16-5 and has won six of the eight series. In SEC standings, USC is fourth in the east, and Ole Miss is sixth in the west. Overall, the Gamecocks are ninth and the Rebels are tenth. This weekend’s series could play a big role in USC’s chances of advancing to the SEC Tournament. Should the Gamecocks lose all three games, they could fall out of contention.

The Rebels are under the guidance of first year coach Missy Dickerson. This is Dickerson’s first time to face South Carolina. Lisa Conchos leads Ole Miss at the plate with a .328 batting average as she has 44 hits. Pitcher Dana Brill has eight wins, while Mary Jane Callahan has seven. As a team, Ole Miss’ ERA is 3.17.

The Gamecocks continue to be led by McKenna Hughes. Hughes enters the weekend second in batting average (.267) but leads the team in RBI (26), hits overall (39) and in SEC games (12), doubles (11) and home runs (6). Freshman Ashton Payne moved back to the top in hitting with a .271 average and ties Hughes with 39 hits. Payne leads in runs scored with 27.

The Gamecocks have a 3-5 record at home this season in SEC play. Should USC pull off the three-game sweep, the Garnet and Black will have a winning home conference record for the first time this season.

The entire series can be followed live on via Gametracker and live audio broadcast.