The University of Arkansas softball team takes a break from Southeastern Conference play this week. The Lady Razorbacks traveled 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.
Arkansas twirlers Katy Henry and Miranda Dixon threw fourteen scoreless innings and combined for 22 strikeouts to lead the Lady Razorbacks to two wins against Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday evening in Sherwood, Ark. Henry threw her first no hitter of the year and third shutout in a 3-0 win in the opener. Dixon fanned a career high 12 batters in the nightcap for a 6-0 victory. In front of 1,433 fans Arkansas tallied 16 hits and improved to 25-17 with the doubleheader sweep, while the Warhawks fell to 10-24.
Seven Lady’Backs hit over .300 in their last doubleheader. Senior Dayna Huckabee and sophomore Sandra Smith boasted .500 averages. Huckabee tallied three hits and Smith had two, one of which was a home run. Junior Amie Hubbard collected the first hit of her Arkansas career with an RBI double in the fifth.
Johnson goes yard twice
The two-hole hitter, junior Kayla Johnson hit two home runs on Wednesday and has six homers on the year. The Bartlesville, Okla., native was 3-for-7 on the day and has a team-high .368 batting average, 50 hits and 36 runs.
New home run records set
Smith hit her 10th home run of the season against ULM setting the individual season home run record. Buckner is second with nine homers. The Lady’Backs have a season-record count of 41, which breaks the previous record of 28 set by last year’s squad.
Huckabee career leader in triples and home runs
Huckabee is now the front-runner in both career triples and home runs (17). Huckabee set the triples record hitting the 11th triple of her career against Louisiana-Monroe. The previous triples record was 10 held by Sheri Wahrmund (1998-00). 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?
As of April 1, Arkansas had the 10th-most home runs (38) in the nation and was 21st in home runs per game (0.95). Dixon was 33rd with a .511 on-base percentage. The Lady’Backs were 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.
The Lady’Backs won their 25th game of the year against Louisiana-Monroe which beats their win total from the 2007 season when they finished 21-43. Arkansas is hitting .276 compared to a .225 team batting average in 2007. Arkansas has scored 27 more runs, has 29 more RBI and three more doubles than last season.
Lady’Backs in the SEC
Arkansas leads the SEC in home runs with 41, is third in total bases (486), fourth in hits (305), slugging percentage (.440) and RBI (179) and fifth in doubles (46) and runs scored (203). Smith leads the league with 10 home runs, Buckner is second with nine and Dixon is third with eight. Dixon is second in the conference in total bases (77), third with 11 doubles, sixth in slugging percentage (.700) and in RBI (31). Smith is also sixth with 31 RBI. Johnson has the third-most runs (36).
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 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.
Rising career home run record
Five Lady’Backs currently sit in the top 10 career home run list. Huckabee holds the career home run record with 17, Dixon is second with 15, Buckner is third with 13, Cloer is fourth with 12 and Smith is sixth with 11.
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.
More program bests
The Lady’Backs have a batting average of .276 and a slugging percentage of .440. Both are the highest in program history.
On route to beat season RBI record
Dixon (31) and Smith (31) and on their way to beating the season RBI record currently held by Jen Cirigliano. Cirigliano hit 36 RBI in 2000.
Pinkerton nine wins away
Head coach Jamie Pinkerton is nine wins away from earning his 100th career win as head coach at Arkansas. Pinkerton currently has 91 wins.
Scouting Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Texas A&M Corpus Christi split a midweek doubleheader against Texas A&M-Kingsville before coming to Fayetteville on Friday. The Islanders lost the first game 6-4, but bounced back with a 5-1 victory in game two. Lauren Sanders leads the team with a .327 batting average, 34 hits, two triples and 20 runs. A&M Corpus Christi has three players hitting over .300. The Lady’Backs are 0-2 against the Islanders in the all-time series.
More team season records?
The Lady’Backs are just 11 RBI away from tallying the most RBI in school history in a single season. Arkansas also needs 30 more runs to claim the same feat in two categories.
Bachkora is on a five-game hitting streak. 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.
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.