The University of Arkansas softball team hosts its home opener, the Clarion Inn-Lady’Back Invitational, beginning Friday, Feb. 23. The Lady Razorbacks welcome Colorado State, Missouri, Missouri-Kansas City and Wichita State. Arkansas plays UMKC Friday at 3:45 p.m. and Wichita State at 6 p.m. Saturday, the Lady’Backs take on Missouri at 1:30 p.m. and Colorado State at 3:45 p.m. Sunday the top four teams are seeded for bracket play.
Arkansas comes off of a 3-2 weekend at the Texas A&M Aggie Classic. The Lady’Backs defeated Texas-San Antonio (2-6) twice, 8-0 and 7-0, and Rutgers (0-5) 8-6. Their losses were against No. 3 Texas A&M (9-0), 1-4 and 0-11.
It’s Out of Here
Juniors Dayna Huckabee and Samantha Buckner hit home runs at the Aggie Classic, marking three home runs on the year for the Lady’Backs. Huckabee smacked her eighth career home run, while Buckner got her third.
Freshman Jessica Bachkora is off to a hot start in 2007. The center fielder for Arkansas hit .643 with nine hits, one RBI and two stolen bases at the USF-Best Western Tournament. At the Aggie Classic, Bachkora hit .500 with two doubles, four RBIs and three stolen bases. She leads the team with a .567 batting average, .667 slugging percentage, .581 on-base-percentage and 17 hits.
Freshman Miranda Dixon fanned a career-best 10 batters against No. 3 Texas A&M Feb. 16. She held the Aggies to just three hits. Junior Katy Henry tied her career-best strike out record Feb. 16, recording 15 K’s against UTSA.
Senior Rachel LeMaster and Bachkora both started the season with a six-game hitting streak. The streaks ended against third-ranked Texas A&M, Feb. 16.
About Colorado State
The Rams opened the season 4-7. At the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic last weekend Colorado State defeated No. 11 Cal, 2-0, but also fell to No. 9 UCLA, 10-2 in five innings. The Rams finished 26-25 last year and returned seven letterwinners.
Versus the Rams
Colorado State leads the series 2-1 against Arkansas. Their last meeting was in 2006 when the Rams defeated the Lady’Backs 6-4 in San Luis Obisopo, Calif.
The Missouri softball team (6-6) battled its way into the championship game of the Stanford Invitational after taking back-to-back wins over Santa Clara and Pacific on Saturday, but suffered a 4-1 loss on Sunday against 12th-ranked Stanford. Missouri plays St. Louis in a doubleheader Wednesday. The Tigers finished 26-27 in 2006 and returned 10 letterwinners.
Versus The Tigers
Missouri leads the series versus the Lady’Backs 2-1, with the last meeting in Gainesville, Fla., in 2004 where the Tigers beat Arkansas 5-3.
About Missouri-Kansas City
UMKC opened the 2007 season indoors, dropping two games to Missouri, 12-1 and 11-0, with both games ending in five innings. They look to get some time in the dirt this weekend returning nine letterwinners and welcoming six newcomers to a squad that finished 11-44 last year.
Versus the Kangaroos
Arkansas leads the all-time series 3-0 against UMKC. The Lady’Backs defeated the Kangaroos 3-0 at the Lady’Back Invitational last year.
About Wichita State
Wichita State (3-8) lost to No. 15 Washington in a 9-0 run-rule game at the USF/Wilson Invitational. They also lost to No. 24 South Florida by a score of 2-0 and ended the weekend 2-3. In 2006 the Shockers finished 35-23. They returned 11 letterwinners and welcomed five newcomers.
Versus the Shockers
Arkansas leads the series 4-2, but lost the last double header in Wichita in 2004, 1-0 and 3-0.
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.