This WeekThe University of Arkansas softball team hosts Kentucky this weekend in a three-game Southeastern Conference series. Arkansas looks for their first conference win against Kentucky after losing seven straight and falling to 0-10 in the SEC.
RecapThe Lady Razorbacks dropped a midweek doubleheader to Auburn, 5-0 and 3-2, Tuesday. The Border War with Tulsa and Oklahoma State, scheduled for Thursday, March 29, was cancelled due to weather. The Lady’Backs also faced the top two teams in the nation this past week falling to No. 2 Alabama, 9-0 and 2-5, and to No. 1 Tennessee in a three-game sweep, 4-0, 1-0, 5-0.
SEC Softball on FSN SouthIn conjunction with the SEC, Sunday’s 1:00 p.m. game is televised on Fox Sports Network South. Five SEC games are televised this year: March 25 – Alabama at LSU; April 1 – Kentucky at Arkansas, 1 p.m.; April 8 – Tennessee at Georgia, 1 p.m.; April 22 – Auburn at Tennessee, 1 p.m.; and May 12 – SEC Tournament Championship, 12 p.m.
Leading the WayFreshman Jessica Bachkora continues to lead the Lady’Backs with a .323 batting average, 41 hits, seven doubles and a .368 on-base percentage.
Against AuburnJunior Samantha Buckner went 4-for-6 with one RBI in Tuesday’s games.
Against TennesseeSenior Rachel LeMaster and sophomore Whitney Cloer led the Arkansas offense in the Tennessee series with two hits apiece. Buckner also singled on the weekend.
Cloer’s GunAfter giving up six stolen bases in game one against Tennessee, Cloer did not give up a single one 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.
Hitting StreaksLeMaster 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.
Against AlabamaCloer 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.
It’s Out of HereJunior 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 WinsHead coach Jamie Pinkerton is three wins away from 200 career victories with 197 wins as a Division I head coach.
Huckabee’s HittingHuckabee leads the team with a .464 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 OpponentJunior Katy Henry is fourth in the SEC in strikeouts with 153. Tennessee’s Monica Abbott leads the way with a commanding 415 K’s while Auburn’s Anna Thompson is second with 184. South Carolina’s Melissa Hendon sits third with 160.
Top ThievesBachkora 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.
About KentuckyUK won its first SEC series this season at home against Ole Miss, March 24-25. After splitting Saturday’s contests 10-5, 4-5, the Wildcats came from behind to win the Sunday rubber game, 4-3. Kentucky is led by Brooke Marnitz who is batting .440 this year. She has 37 hits, five doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .988 slugging percentage. She leads the league in total bases, home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage.
Versus the WildcatsArkansas is 17-10 versus Kentucky and won the last three series. In 2006, after getting run-ruled, 8-0, Friday, the Lady’Backs came back Saturday, defeating the Wildcats 2-1 and 2-0 for the series victory.
Game WinnersCloer 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 RecordsThe 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 RunRachel LeMaster is approaching the career stolen bases record of 72 by Dana Gulick. LeMaster currently sits second with 66 stolen bases.
Dixon homers three timesFreshman 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 recordBachkora 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.
Preseason PredictionsArkansas 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 FieldThe 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.
2008 SigneesAmanda 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.