This weekThe University of Arkansas softball team had a doubleheader against No. 11 Oklahoma this past Monday and its two games with Kansas on Thursday were cancelled due to inclement weather. The Lady Razorbacks get back into Southeastern Conference play traveling to Kentucky for a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday.
RecapArkansas upset No. 11 Oklahoma, 3-2, on Monday evening at Lady’Back Yard. Arkansas split the doubleheader with a 3-2 loss in eight innings in the nightcap. The Lady’Backs (29-18) defeated the Sooners (33-9) for the first time in school history behind a complete-game win in the circle from senior Katy Henry. The Poteau, Okla., native held OU to two runs and picked up her 15th win of the year and second against a ranked opponent.
Last WeekArkansas went 5-0 and hit 11 home runs, three triples and seven doubles last week. The Lady’Backs shut out Louisiana-Monroe in Sherwood, Ark., before sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at home. Arkansas boasted a .336 batting average, .704 slugging percentage and .397 on-base percentage.
Leading Lady’BacksAgainst OU, senior Dayna Huckabee was 3-for-6 with a triple, an RBI and a run. Junior Kayla Johnson was 3-for-7 with two doubles and two runs. Last week sophomore Sandra Smith led the way batting .667 with three home runs. Smith boasted a 1.778 slugging percentage and .800 on-base percentage. Johnson launched three home runs and senior Samantha Buckner had a team-high eight hits.
Lady’Backs outstanding in the circleHenry and sophomore Miranda Dixon held the 11th-ranked Sooners to just nine hits and two earned runs in two games. Dixon and Henry were each 2-0 in the circle last week. Dixon fanned a career-high 12 batters in her first shutout of the year. Henry had 10 K’s in her third shutout of the year. Freshman Kim Jones also picked up a win with a career-high eight strikeouts against A&M-Corpus Christi.
Bachkora goes yardSophomore Jessica Bachkora hit her first career home run to tie the game 2-2 in the nightcap against the Sooners.
New home run records setSmith hit her 12th home run of the season against A&M-Corpus Christi setting the individual season home run record. Buckner and Dixon are second with nine homers. The Lady’Backs have a season-record count of 50, which breaks the previous record of 28 set by last year’s squad.
Where does Arkansas rank nationally in stats?As of April 6, Arkansas had the 5th-most home runs (49) in the nation and was 13th in home runs per game (1.09). The Lady’Backs were ranked 25th in slugging percentage (.463) and 45th in scoring with 5.04 runs per game. Johnson was ranked 42nd in runs per game with 0.87. She had 39 runs.
29 wins!The Lady’Backs won their 29th game of the year against Oklahoma which beats their win total from the 2007 season when they finished 21-43. Arkansas is hitting .278 compared to a .225 team batting average in 2007. Arkansas has scored 56 more runs, has 57 more RBI and 11 more doubles than last season.
On route to beat season RBI recordSmith (35) is two RBI away from breaking the season RBI record currently held by Jen Cirigliano. Cirigliano hit 36 RBI in 2000. Dixon (33), Buckner (32) and Huckabee (30) are close on Smith’s tail.
Huckabee career leader in triples and home runsHuckabee is now the front-runner in both career triples and home runs (18). Huckabee hit the 12th triple of her career against OU. The previous triple record was 10 held by Sheri Wahrmund (1998-00). Huckabee has held the career home run record since last season.
More team season recordsThe Lady’Backs set the season RBI record with 207 RBI in 2008. The previous team record was 190 RBI in 2000. Arkansas needs just one more run to claim the same feat in another category.
Henry career saves leaderHenry tied the career saves record with her third save of the season and ninth of her career in the final game of the series against A&M-Corpus Christi.
Arkansas’ RPIThe National Fastpitch Coaches Association released a ratings percentage index (RPI) for Division I softball. As of April 3, Arkansas was ranked 43rd out of 282 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.
Bachkora leads in conference playBachkora 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.
Second grand slam in 2008Buckner 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 recordSix Lady’Backs currently sit in the top 10 career home run list. Huckabee holds the career home run record with 18, Dixon is second with 16, Buckner, Cloer and Smith are third with 13 and Johnson stepped into the top 10 with seven.
Scouting KentuckyFirst year head coach Rachel Lawson and the Kentucky softball team enter the weekend with a 15-24 record, having lost its last two games against #12 LSU on Wednesday. The Wildcats took two out of three games against Ole Miss last weekend. Kentucky is led by Molly Johnson with a .402 batting average, 14 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 30 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Amber Matousek has thrown the most innings (144.0) for the Wildcats and has a 3.84 ERA with 95 K’s.
Against the WildcatsArkansas is 20-10 against Kentucky, but has never swept the Wildcats in Lexington. The Lady’Backs won the last five games, including a sweep at Lady’Back Yard last season, and are 9-1 against Kentucky in the last 10 contests.
Best win at Lady’Back YardArkansas’ 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 bestsThe Lady’Backs have program-bests with a batting average of .278 and a slugging percentage of .458.
Pinkerton five wins awayHead coach Jamie Pinkerton is five wins away from earning his 100th career win as head coach at Arkansas. Pinkerton currently has 95 wins.
ESPN.com features Lady’BacksArkansas 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 streakThe 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 RBIThe Lady’Backs had double-digit runs in seven games, hits in 10 and RBI in six.
Six RBI by HuckabeeHuckabee 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.
Back-to-back-to-back homersAgainst 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.
Record-setting winArkansas 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 WeekDixon 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.
All-Tournament teamBachkora 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 helmPinkerton 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 SEC all-freshman honors
How the SEC stacks upThe 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.