The University of Arkansas softball team takes a break from Southeastern Conference play this week. The Lady Razorbacks travel to Sherwood, Ark., on Wednesday for a doubleheader with Louisiana-Monroe and return home Friday and Saturday for a three-game series with Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
Previous games at Sherwood
Arkansas started playing in Central Arkansas in 2006. The Lady’Backs are undefeated at Sherwood, beating Louisiana-Monroe its first year, 3-2 and 4-3, and downing Louisiana Tech last season 1-0 and 5-4. Arkansas has also had great response from fans in the area with record-setting attendance figures of 2,187 in 2006 and 2,930 in 2007.
Arkansas went 1-4 last week, defeating Oklahoma State in a 4-0 shutout on Wednesday. The Lady’Backs dropped an SEC series to No. 15 Georgia this past weekend. Arkansas out hit the Bulldogs seven to four on Sunday and held them scoreless for five innings after their initial runs.
Sophomore Jessica Bachkora led the Lady’Backs hitting .375 for the week. Bachkora tallied six hits, one double, one run and one RBI. Sophomore Teighynne Hulsey was 2-for-4 with two hits, a double, one run and two RBI. Samantha Buckner, Kayla Johnson, Whitney Cloer and Jocelyne Moncrief all hit .300 or above on the week.
Huckabee career leader in triples and home runs
Senior Dayna Huckabee is now the front-runner in both career triples and home runs. Huckabee hit the 10th triple of her career against Oklahoma State to tie former Lady’Back Sheri Wahrmund for the record. Huckabee has held the career home run record since last season.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association released a ratings percentage index (RPI) for Division I softball. Arkansas was ranked 35th out of 238 institutions. The RPI is a mathematical calculation used to help determine each team’s success, using a calculated strength of schedule and won-loss percentage.
Where does Arkansas rank nationally in stats?
Arkansas has the 10th-most home runs (38) in the nation and is 21st in home runs per game (0.95). Dixon is 33rd with a .511 on-base percentage. The Lady’Backs are ranked 46th with a .434 slugging percentage.
Bachkora leads in conference play
Bachkora leads the Lady’Backs in conference play with a .385 average, 15 hits, two doubles, seven runs and a .442 on-base percentage. Cloer is batting .300 with 12 hits, two doubles, one run and five RBI.
New home run records set
Smith and Buckner are tied with nine homers each, setting the individual season home run record. The Lady’Backs have a season-record count of 38, which breaks the previous record of 28 set by last year’s squad.
The Lady’Backs won their 23rd game of the year against Oklahoma State which beats their win total from the 2007 season when they finished 21-43. Arkansas is hitting .275 compared to a .225 team batting average in 2007. Arkansas has scored 18 more runs, has 23 more RBI and two more doubles than last season.
Lady’Backs in the SEC
Arkansas is second in the SEC in home runs with 38, third in total bases (503), fourth in doubles (45) and slugging percentage (.434) and fifth in RBI (173). Smith and Buckner lead the league with nine home runs, Dixon is second with eight. Dixon is second in the conference in total bases (76) and 11 doubles, fourth in slugging percentage (.731) and sixth in RBI (31). Junior Kayla Johnson (34) has the fourth-most runs. Smith is eighth with 30 RBI.
Second grand slam in 2008
Senior Samantha Buckner hit a grand-slam home run that lifted the Lady’Backs to a 5-2 come-from-behind victory against the eighth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols on March 21. Buckner’s grand slam was the second this season and just the sixth in program history. The last grand slam was by sophomore Sandra Smith on March 1, 2008. Down 5-1 in the sixth inning against ASU, Smith launched a grand slam home run to right center to even the score at five apiece and force extra innings. Before this year, Kim Eiben hit the last grand slam in 2001.
Best win at Lady’Back Yard
Arkansas’ win over Tennessee was the highest ranked opponent it has defeated at Lady’Back Yard and marks the first time Arkansas downed the Lady Vols since April 3, 2004 when UT was ranked 12th. The Lady’Backs also scored more runs then they had in the last nine contests against Tennessee.
Moncrief hits first career double
In the sixth inning of game one against Auburn, junior Jocelyne Moncrief led off with the first double of her career to right field.
More program bests
The Lady’Backs have a batting average of .275 and a slugging percentage of .434. Both are the highest in program history.
On route to beat season RBI record
Dixon (31) and Smith (30) and on their way to beating the season RBI record currently held by Jen Cirigliano. Cirigliano hit 36 RBI in 2000.
Buckner is on a five-game hitting streak and Johnson ended a 12-game hitting streak at Georgia. Cloer and Buckner had 11-game hitting streaks and Dixon had a nine-game streak earlier in the season. Johnson started the year on a 12-game hitting streak. The streaks are the longest of their careers.
Louisiana-Monroe enters Wednesday’s contest with a 10-22 record and just one player batting above .300. The Warhawks lost the last seven out of eight contests. ULM defeated Middle Tennessee State 5-4 in 11 innings on Sunday. The two teams played three games and the Warhawks lost the series 2-1. Arkansas leads the all-time series against Louisiana-Monroe 6-2 and won two out of three games at Lady’Back Yard in 2007.
Scouting Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Texas A&M Corpus Christi has a midweek doubleheader against Texas A&M-Kingsville before coming to Fayetteville on Friday. The Islanders lost the last eight out of nine games, but still have four players hitting over .300. The Lady’Backs are 0-2 against the Islanders.
Rising career home run record
Huckabee holds the career home run record with 17 homers. Dixon is second with 15, Buckner is third with 13, Cloer is fourth with 12 and Smith is sixth with 10.
ESPN.com features Lady’Backs
Arkansas softball was featured in an article on ESPN.com recently. The article titled, “Top teams aren’t rolling through early-season competition,” was written by Graham Hays and talks about Arkansas’ early success and improvements from the 2007 season. The link to the story is: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/columns/story?columnist=hays_graham&id=3274260.
12-game winning streak
The Lady’Backs were on a program-best 12-game winning streak before their eight-inning loss to Arizona State. 12 consecutive wins matches the most in program history which happend during the 1999 season.
Double digit runs, hits and RBI
The Lady’Backs had double-digit runs in six games, hits in eight and RBI in five.
Six RBI by Huckabee
Huckabee tallied six RBI in the first game against Indiana State to tie the game record for most RBI.
Four homers in a game…three times!
Arkansas hit four home runs against Centenary, breaking the school record for most home runs in a game. The Lady’Backs matched their feat and broke the Lady’Back Yard record with four home runs against Northern Colorado. The previous record was three home runs last set on April 18, 2007 against Louisiana Tech.
Against San Jose State in the fifth, Smith hit a two-run home run to center field. She was followed with a solo shot to left center by Cloer. Huckabee made it three in a row with a homer to center. The last time Arkansas hit three home runs in a row was against Louisiana Tech on April 18, 2007.
Arkansas defeated Saint Louis by a record-setting 18 runs and 15 RBI. The Lady’Backs also tallied 16 hits, at least one by every starter, in an 18-3, five-inning win. Thirteen of Arkansas’ runs came in the fourth inning.
Dixon named SEC Player of the Week
Dixon was named SEC Player of the Week on Feb. 26. The Edmond, Okla., native started five games, hit .733 and went 11-for-15 with seven runs and 10 RBI. She recorded a run and hit in all five games and posted multiple-RBI games in all but one. Dixon had a 1.467 slugging percentage and .765 on-base percentage. She went 3-for-3 with three RBI against Saint Louis. She hit a home run, a triple and a double. She also threw four innings with eight strikeouts, earning her fourth win from the circle. The last Lady’Back to earn SEC Player of the Week honors was Mindy O’Malley on April 25, 2005.
Bachkora and Johnson were named to the all-tournament team at the Metrodome Classic. Bachkora hit .350 with a .400 slugging percentage and a .409 on-base average. Johnson hit .318 with seven hits, a home run, two RBI and five runs.
At the helm
Head coach Jamie Pinkerton enters his fourth season at the helm of Arkansas softball. Last season, Pinkerton saw his team set 14 different game, season and career records. Arkansas’ batting average improved and Pinkerton guided two of his freshmen, Bachkora and Dixon to Southeastern Conference all-freshman honors
How the SEC stacks up
The Lady’Backs were picked to finish 6th in the Western Division of the SEC, while Alabama was predicted to win the 2008 SEC softball title.