FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas softball team returns from an eight-game road trip and will host the UMKC Kangaroos on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Bogle Park.
The UMKC Kangaroos come into the midweek matchup at Arkansas with a record of 11-12. The team is led in hitting by Emily Ott and Liz Broyles, who both have compiled a .377 batting average to start the season. The ‘Roos have seven players hitting over a .300 pace this season. Deanna Friese leads the team with seven wins in the circle. She has 95 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched this season. Arkansas defeated UMKC, 2-0, last season. Arkansas head coach Mike Larabee expects the team to play well on Wednesday.
“We need a good pitching performance,” Larabee said. “We also need to continue the excellent defense that we have shown in the past weeks. I want to see some timely hits from our group, I don’t care about how many hits we get, I want them to be timely and score some runs.”
Arkansas softball went 2-3 last week to improve its record to 21-13. The team won two games at Savannah State, outscoring the Lady Tigers 24-1 in the process. The Razorbacks then traveled to No. 3 Florida and were swept by the Gators. Arkansas was led at the plate by freshman Stephanie Canfield, who went 6-13 in the five games. She also garnered two walks and scored two runs. The week also featured a no-hitter, thrown by sophomore Kimmy Beasley on March 19 against Savannah State. She went six innings and only walked one batter in the process of throwing the first solo no-hitter for Arkansas since March 5, 2006. Also pitching well in the circle was Chelsea Cohen, who turned in a gem against No. 3 Florida on Saturday. The senior gave up one run in 6.2 innings pitched against the No. 3 team in the country.
“I learned last week that we have a very talented team,” Larabee said. “For us to have success, we have to take care of the little things. I thought we played great defense last week. I thought we were close to some wins but we didn’t get that clutch hit with runners in scoring position.”
The defense mentioned, was excellent in their first two SEC series’ of the year. Commanding the defense behind the plate has been junior, Jayme Gee. The Woodlands, Texas native leads the SEC in putouts and is fourth in runners caught stealing. Larabee has been praiseful of his leader behind the plate.
“I have been very pleased with Jayme Gee behind the plate,” Larabee said. “I feel like she is one of the best receivers in the country. Other coaches have praised her and she has done a lot for our pitching staff. She has done a great job.”
The game against UMKC is also the first dollar dog Wednesday of the year. All hot dogs purchased at Bogle Park will be only one dollar. First pitch will be at 5 p.m. CT.
Next up, the homestand continues with a weekend series versus No. 22 Georgia. Game one is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday in Bogle Park. The Friday game is also the pink game this season. Arkansas fans wearing the official pink t-shirt will be admitted free to the game. The first 250 fans will also receive free pink can coozies.