FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas Razorback softball team opened the 2010 season under the guidance of first-year head coach Mike Larabee and through his coaching and the leadership of a strong senior class would post some of the top team and individual numbers in school history.
Arkansas finished the season with an overall record of 28-29 after falling in the first round of the SEC Tournament against Alabama. The Razorbacks finished the regular with a 10-15 mark in conference play including a pair of victories over then-No. 9 ranked Georgia. The back-to-back wins against Georgia represented the first time Arkansas has accomplished that feat since 2001. That year was also the last time the Razorbacks defeated the Bulldogs in a three-game series.
The Razorbacks opened conference play with an 8-2 record this season, a mark that represents the best start to SEC play in school history. Arkansas’ 10 conference wins, matching the number reached in 2009.
Arkansas finished the 2010 season with a .254 batting average with 58 home runs and 236 RBIs. The team batting average ranks in the top five all-time in program history while the home runs and RBIs are the second most by a Razorback team. The Razorbacks posted a .353 on-base percentage and 202 walks, which set single-season team records in both categories.
The team finished the season with a .965 fielding-percentage, only one-thousandth of a point off the school record .966 set in 2001. In the circle, Arkansas lowered its team ERA from 4.75 in 2009 to 3.67 in 2010. The number of earned runs decreased from 4.3 per game to 3.5 per game. The Razorback pitching staff also increased its total number of strikeouts while walking almost 70 less batters.
Individually, seniors Jessica Bachkora, Miranda Dixon and Sandra Smith put together career years in their final season with the Razorbacks. Bachkora and Dixon earned second-team All-SEC honors while Smith was named to the 2010 SEC All-Defensive team. Bachkora set career highs in almost every offensive category and set Arkansas single-season records in seven of those categories, including average (.373), runs (62), home runs (15), total bases (131), slugging percentage (.740) and on-base percentage (.500). The Overland Park, Kan., career numbers also place her at the top of the charts in batting average (.300), runs (166), hits (227), doubles (48) and total bases.
Dixon walked 41 times to set a new-single season mark while Smith’s 50 RBIs also accounted for a record. Dixon’s .537 career slugging percentage along with a .391 on-base percentage, 43 home runs and 147 RBIs rank tops in school history. Smith totaled 103 walks for her career to claim her spot at the top of the career charts.
Dixon finished the season with a .316 average, 49 hits, 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. She posted a team high .364 mark against SEC opponents with 28 RBIs, the second most in the conference. For her performance on the field, the senior was named to the NFCA/Louisville Slugger All-America third team. She was selected at the utility/non-pitcher/designated player position and becomes the first All-American in program history.
The 2010 season saw the emergence of freshman Courtney Breault who became the fourth Razorback to garner All-Freshman honors in program history. She joined teammates Bachkora and Dixon, who were recognized in 2007, and Brittany Griffiths, who was honored last season. The Roseville, Calif., native started all 28-conference games at second base for Arkansas, finishing the season with a .313 average against SEC opponents. She drove in 20 of her 32 RBIs during conference play and boasted a .943 fielding percentage during those games. Breault was named SEC Freshman of the Week, May 3, after leading Arkansas to a series victory over Ole Miss.
Away from the playing field, the Razorbacks collected honors as well. Seniors Jessica Bachkora and Miranda Dixon were each named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team. It was the third selection for Bachkora, her second-straight year with first-team honors. It was also Dixon’s third time as an honoree, her first time on the second team.
Bachkora would go on to be named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team. This is the first career Academic All-America honor for the Razorback senior. As a kinesiology and biomechanics major, Bachkora carried a 3.94 cumulative GPA. She was also named the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year.