The University of Arkansas softball team hosts SEC opponent Auburn in a midweek doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 27, before traveling to Stillwater, Okla., Thursday to face Tulsa and Oklahoma State in the Border War. The Lady Razorbacks return home Saturday and Sunday to take on Kentucky in a three-game SEC series.
The Lady’Backs faced the top two teams in the nation this past week dropping a doubleheader to No. 2 Alabama Wednesday, 9-0 and 2-5, and falling to No. 1 Tennessee in a three-game sweep, 4-0, 1-0, 5-0.
Arkansas hosts Auburn at home tomorrow for the second consecutive season. With the SEC’s new schedule, each team is scheduled to play two midweek doubleheaders, one on the road and one at home, instead of the previous three-game midweek series. The Lady’Backs played two games at second-ranked Alabama last Wednesday.
Senior Rachel LeMaster and sophomore Whitney Cloer led the Arkansas offense in the Tennessee series with two hits apiece. Junior Samantha Buckner also singled on the weekend.
After giving up six stolen bases in game one against Tennessee, Cloer gave up no stolen baseas in game two, throwing out India Chiles, who had not been caught stealing all season, and Lindsay Schutlzler. Both Lady Vols are in the top 10 for stolen bases in the SEC.
Cloer led Arkansas at the plate Wednesday as well, going 3-for-5 with a double. She was followed by freshman Jessica Bachkora who was 3-for-6 with one run scored, and LeMaster, who went 2-for-5 with one run scored and one RBI.
LeMaster was on a seven-game hitting streak, her longest of the season, until the second game of the doubleheader at Tennessee. LeMaster hit .524 during the streak, with 11 hits, four runs and two RBIs. Cloer had a season-high five-game hitting streak that also ended against Tennessee. Cloer hit .643 with nine hits, two home runs, two doubles, two runs, four RBIs and a 1.214 slugging percentage.
Leading the Way
Bachkora continues to lead the Lady’Backs with a .336 batting average. She also has team-highs 41 hits, 21 runs, seven doubles and a .372 on-base percentage.
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.
Pinkerton Approaches 200 Wins
Head coach Jamie Pinkerton is three wins away from 200 career victories with 197 wins as a Division I head coach.
Huckabee leads the team with a .487 slugging percentage, 58 total bases, 23 RBIs and five home runs. She is also the team leader with seven multiple-RBI games, including a game March 3rd against Northern Iowa where she had five RBIs.
Fanning the Opponent
Junior Katy Henry is fourth in the SEC in strikeouts with 146. Tennessee’s Monica Abbott led the way with a commanding 372 K’s while Auburn’s Anna Thompson was second with 177. South Carolina’s Melissa Hendon sat third with 155.
Bachkora and LeMaster lead the team in stolen bases. Bachkora is 13-for-16, and LeMaster is 13-for-18. The Lady’Backs have 38 stolen bases as a team.
Auburn is 15-19 overall and 4-7 in SEC play after losing its series against Mississippi State this past weekend. The Tigers took the final game of the series from the Bulldogs, 2-1, on Sunday. The Tigers are led by Holly Currie with a .311 batting average. Currie also leads the team with 32 hits, six home runs, 18 RBIs, a .534 slugging percentage and a .408 on-base percentage.
Versus the Tigers
Arkansas leads the all-time series 19-16, but Auburn has won 10 of its last 11 games against the Lady’Backs. The Tigers also won the 2006 SEC series at Lady’Back Yard. Auburn won the first game 5-4, while Arkansas took the second 2-0. The Tigers then won the Sunday game, 1-2, to take the series.
Cloer and junior Samantha Buckner both had game-winning inthe 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 66 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 school record
Freshman Jessica 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. She is the only player in the SEC with two triples in a game.
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.