The University of Arkansas softball team faces the Florida Gators in Southeastern Conference action this weekend. The doubleheader begins at 3 p.m. Friday, and Saturday’s first pitch is at 11 a.m.
The Lady’Backs enter the series winning four out of their last five games. Arkansas swept Kentucky this past weekend and split a doubleheader with Kansas Tuesday. Arkansas dropped the first game 4-2, but jumped out to a five-run lead after two innings in game two, and won 6-1.
There’s a First Time For Everything
Sophomore Hillary Freeman hit her first collegiate home run and first collegiate double against Kansas, April 3. Freeman went 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI, a career-high. Her homer was the 20th of the season for the Lady’Backs and broke the team’s single-season home run record.
Five Home Run Club
Sophomore Whitney Cloer, junior Dayna Huckabee and freshman Miranda Dixon all lead the team with five home runs on the season. Cloer hit a two-run shot for her fifth of the year in the top of the first inning in game two against Kansas.
The 2007 Arkansas softball team broke the single-season home run record smashing its 20th home run of the season against Kansas, April 3. The previous record was 19 set in 2005.
Alcorn State Games Cancelled
The doubleheader against Alcorn State scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, was cancelled due to overscheduling.
Record-breaking Game One
In the first game of the series against Kentucky, Arkansas tied the single game records for most runs scored (14) and most hits (19), and broke the record for most runs batted in (14). The previous record of 19 hits was in a 19-inning game against Alabama in 1999, while the 2007 Lady’Backs tallied their 19 hits in just seven innings.
Another Single Game Record
Cloer also broke the single game record for most hits in a game with five. Cloer was 5-for-5 with four RBIs, two runs scored, two doubles and one home run.
Pinkerton’s 200th Win
Head coach Jamie Pinkerton picked up the 200th win of his career as a Division I head coach Sunday, April 1, in the final game of the Kentucky series.
Bring out the Broom
The last time Arkansas swept an SEC series was against Kentucky in 2005.
Leading the Way
Freshman Jessica Bachkora continues to lead the Lady’Backs with a .326 batting average, 25 runs, 47 hits, nine doubles and a .374 on-base percentage.
LeMaster’s 200th Hit
Senior Rachel LeMaster collected the 200th hit of her career in the final game of the Tennessee series, March 25. LeMaster is fourth on the career list with 209 hits. The current record is 224 held by Danica White.
Fanning the Opponent
Junior Katy Henry is third in the SEC in strikeouts with 178. Tennessee’s Monica Abbott leads the way with a commanding 428 K’s while Auburn’s Anna Thompson is second with 204.
Cloer began the season batting .250 through the first 23 games. The second half of the season she’s increased her batting average over .100, hitting .355. Cloer’s slugging percentage also jumped from .359 to .645 in the last 22 games.
LeMaster and Bachkora account for 70% of the Lady’Backs’ stolen bases.LeMaster leads the team with 16 and is followed closely by Bachkora with 14. Arkansas has 43 stolen bases as a team.
The 23rd-ranked Gator softball team (30-16, 6-8 SEC) swept a doubleheader against in-state rival Florida State on Wednesday after losing an SEC series to Ole Miss this past weekend. Florida took the first game against FSU, 5-1, and came from behind to win game two 4-3.
Versus the Gators
Floirda leads Arkansas all-time 18-10, and won last year’s series in a 10-inning rubber game on Sunday.
Tennessee’s India Chiles, was caught stealing for the first time this season by the arm of Whitney Cloer, March 24. Cloer did not give up a single stolen base in game two against the Lady Vols, and she threw out Lindsay Schutlzler. Both players are in the top 10 for stolen bases in the SEC.
LeMaster had the longest hitting streak on the team this season with a seven-game streak, during which she hit .524 with 11 hits, four runs and two RBIs. Bachkora and sophomore Kayla Johnson had six-game hitting streaks, while Cloer hit in five consecutive games.
It’s Out of Here
Junior Dayna Huckabee tied the career home run record March 18 with a two-out, two-run blast in the first inning against Nebraska. She hit five home runs this year and 12 in her career.
Cloer and junior Samantha Buckner both had game-winning hits in the Big Red Tournament. Against Nebraska March 18, Cloer hit her second home run of the game and third of the year in the sixth inning, a two-out, two-run shot to right center, giving the Lady’Backs the 5-3 lead. Buckner hit an RBI single in the seventh inning March 17 to give Arkansas the 2-1 victory against the North Dakota State.
Lady’Back Home Run Records
The Lady’Backs hit three home runs, a team game record, in two contests this season, March 4 against Louisiana-Monroe and March 18 against Nebraska. The previous record was two.
Run Rachel Run
Rachel LeMaster is approaching the career stolen bases record of 72 by Dana Gulick. LeMaster currently sits second with 69 stolen bases.
Dixon Homers Three Times
Freshman Miranda Dixon hit three home runs and was 7-for-7, helping the Lady’Backs to two victories March 4 at Lady’Back Yard. Dixon put Arkansas up 6-5 against Northern Iowa with a two-run shot on two outs in the fifth inning. Against ULM she hit a lead-off home run in the fourth inning to bring the Lady’Backs within one run of the Warhawks, and homered again in the seventh to put the Lady’Backs up 8-4. Dixon had seven hits, seven RBIs and four runs on the day. She also marked a new Lady’Back Yard record, hitting two home runs in a game.
Bachkora Breaks Triple Record
Bachkora broke the school record for most triples in a single game on Feb. 25 against Missouri. Bachkora hit two triples, breaking the previous record of one.
Arkansas was selected to finish fourth in the SEC Western Division. The Lady’Backs received 37 points trailing LSU with 14 points, Alabama with 15 points and Auburn with 30 points. Tennessee was unanimously voted as the overall champion with 10 votes while Florida received one vote.
New Faces on the Field
The returning letterwinners are joined this season by eight new faces. Freshmen Jessica Bachkora (Overland Park, Kan.), Hannah Cicioni (Rogers, Ark.), Miranda Dixon (Edmond, Okla.), Teighynne Hulsey (Edmond, Okla.), Jess Reed (Fayetteville, Ark.), Brittany Robison (Owasso, Okla), Jessica Waddle (Chickasha, Okla.) and sophomore-transfer Dara Clark (Farmington, Ark.) all compete for playing time in 2007.
Amanda Caldwell of Victoria, Texas, Lauren Chisom a Bentonville, Ark. native, Leslie Dixon from Edmond, Okla., Lauren Iverson of Grove, Okla., Emily Jones a Joplin, Mo. native, Kim Jones from Lenexa, Kan., Jacey Juden of Arkansas City, Kan., and Wynne, Ark. native Layne McGuirt signed national letters of intent to play softball at Arkansas and officially become part of the Lady’Back program in the 2007-08 academic year.