This Week: Arkansas is in the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the first time since 2002. The Lady’Backs are the No. 7 seed and will meet No. 2 seed Georgia, Thursday, May 8, at 4:00 p.m. in Athens, Ga.
In Review: The Lady’Backs concluded the regular season with a series with No. 4 Alabama, May 5-6. Arkansas fell, 7-2, 7-0 and 9-2. Despite the series loss, the Lady’Backs clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament in head coach Jamie Pinkerton’s second season.
Last Tournament Appearance: In the 2002 SEC Tournament, the Lady’Backs opened with a 2-1 loss to No. 18 Alabama, May 9. Arkansas was eliminated for the tournament after a 5-1 loss to Mississippi State, May 10. Senior Blaire Perry is the only Lady’Back that has played in a SEC Tournament game.
The Tournament Field: No. 5 seed Florida and No. 4 seed Tennessee open the tournament at 11:00 a.m. and No. 8 seed Ole Miss is making their first appearance in the tournament but have to meet No. 1 seed Alabama at 1:30 p.m. The quarterfinals conclude with No. 6 seed Auburn taking on No. 3 seed LSU at 6:30 p.m. The Florida/Tennessee winner plays the Ole Miss/Alabama winner at noon and the Arkansas/Georgia winner meets the Auburn/LSU winner at 2:30 p.m. Friday. The SEC Championship game is at noon, Saturday, and will be televised on FSN.
Georgia: Arkansas has a 1-3 record versus the Bulldogs this season. The Lady’Backs recorded their first conference win of the season, 1-0, against No. 12 Georgia, March 12 in Athens. Arkansas opened the year in a meeting with the No. 10 Bulldogs and fell 7-6 in nine innings in the Diamond Fun and Sun Classic in Miami, Fla., Feb. 10.
Alabama Recap: In the doubleheader May 5, senior Shana Easley and sophomore Dayna Huckabee led the way with a pair of hits in the 7-2 and 7-0 defeats. The Lady’Backs celebrated senior day, May 6, with senior Mindy O’Malley recording a triple and Perry and Easley both tallying a double, but Arkansas fell in the regular season finale, 9-2.
LSU Recap: The Lady’Backs opened the series with the No. 11 Tigers with their first win, 3-2, over LSU, April 25, in Fayetteville since 1999. Senior Shana Easley led the team with a solo home run, her fifth of the season. After falling 4-3 in the first game of the doubleheader April 26, Arkansas responded with a 3-2 victory in nine innings to claim the series. Freshman infielder Kayla Johnson hit a two-run home run in the nightcap to pace the Lady’Backs. In the ninth inning, Arkansas took advantage of three consecutive errors to win the game.
Oklahoma Recap: The Lady’Backs began the last week of the regular season with a pair of losses to the Sooners, 5-4 and 5-2, May 1. Sophomore infielder Dayna Huckabee led the team with three hits in the twin bill while freshman catcher Whitney Cloer hit her third home run of the season.
Get Out of Here: The Lady’Backs have hit seven homeruns since April 19, which is half of the overall season total.
Louisiana-Monroe Recap: In the 3-2 and 4-3 wins, senior Blaire Perry led the Lady’Backs as she recorded six hits in the doubleheader. Cloer hit her second home run of the season.
Auburn Recap: After falling 5-4 in the first game of the series, the Lady’Backs bounced back to upset the No. 18 Tigers, 2-0. In the shutout, sophomore Katy Henry collected the win and recorded seven strikeouts. In the series opener, freshman infielder Sandra Smith and Easley hit two-run home runs. For Smith it was her first career home run. Sophomore infielder Dayna Huckabee led a seventh-inning rally but it wasn’t enough as Arkansas fell, 2-1, in the series finale.
On the Right Track: After the series win over LSU, the Lady’Backs have surpassed the number of overall wins, 26, and conference wins, 10, since the 2003 season.
Kentucky Recap: In its final Southeastern Conference road trip of the season, Arkansas won its second series of the year. The Lady’Backs rebounded after falling to Kentucky, 8-0, April 14, with a pair of wins, 2-1 and 2-0, April 15. Senior outfielder Mindy O’Malley led the way with six hits in the doubleheader.
Missouri State Recap: The Lady’Back offense was solid in the 5-1 win over the Bears. Arkansas recorded 10 hits, which is only the fourth time this season the Lady’Backs have reached the double digit mark. In the nightcap, junior Kayce Odle shutout the Missouri State, 1-0, as she had a no-hitter going until the to of the seventh inning.
Moving Up: With the win over Missouri State in the nightcap, April 11, the Lady’Backs have now tied the season win total from 2005. Arkansas tied the 2005 conference total versus Florida, March 25.
Kansas Recap: In the first game of the doubleheader, sophomore infielder Dayna Huckabee hit her third home run of the season. Arkansas had a pair of solid pitching performances from Perry and sophomore Katy Henry. Henry had 10 strikeouts in the nightcap.
South Carolina Recap: After weather conditions postponed the doubleheader, Arkansas only played two games against the Gamecocks. Henry and Perry were tough in the circle for the Lady’Backs as they gave up only one earned run per game.
Oklahoma State Recap: A late surge by the Cowgirl offense was too much for the Lady’Backs, as OSU won, 8-1. O’Malley led the team as she was 3-for-4. Huckabee contributed a home run to the cause.
Tulsa Recap: The Golden Hurricane used home field advantage to defeat the Lady’Backs, 7-4. For Arkansas, Huckabee was 2-for-3.
Tennessee Recap: When the No. 5 Lady Vols came to Fayetteville, the Lady’Backs were challenged by one of the best team’s in the country. Tennessee swept the series, which is the first time Arkansas has not won a game in a series. In the second game April 1, freshman catcher Whitney Cloer was clutch and recorded a RBI-single, while O’Malley was 2-for-3. In the series finale, freshman infielder Kayla Johnson went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Ole Miss Recap: After losing to the Rebels in the opening game of the series, Arkansas bounced back with a pair of victories to take the series. In the 4-3 win, Perry drove in two runs in the top of the seventh inning. In the first run-rule of the season, O’Malley had five RBIs.
Florida Recap: For the Lady’Backs, the offense surge at Ole Miss carried over to the series with Florida. Arkansas tied the season-high mark for hits with 11 in the first game of the series. In the win over the Gators, Henry recorded 10 strikeouts while Cloer and junior outfielder Rachel LeMaster went 2-for-3.
Conference Accolades: Katy Henry was selected as SEC pitcher of the week after collected a 3-1 record in a pair of series at Ole Miss and Florida. Henry recorded a 0.91 ERA and 31 strikeouts for the week with four starts and four complete games. She held opponents to a .213 average and four earned runs.
Mississippi State Recap: With a 4-2 win over the Bulldogs, the Lady’Backs tallied their first win against MSU since 2004. Freshman Sandra Smith, Perry and O’Malley each went 2-for-3 in the victory. Smith and Perry combine for three of the four team RBIs in the series. In the circle, Perry earned her fifth win while Henry collected her third save of the season.
Back in the Game: Smith paced the Lady’Back offense against Mississippi State with a .667 batting average, .833 slugging percentage, four hits and two RBIs in only her ninth game of the season. Smith missed the first two tournaments of the season.
Supportive Senior: O’Malley was a force at the plate as she led the team with two doubles while posting a .400 batting average. O’Malley also recorded her first stolen base of the season.
Sweet Surprise: The Lady’Backs have upset three ranked teams this season, which hasn’t happened since the 2000 season. Arkansas has recorded victories over No. 12 Georgia, No. 22 Mississippi State and No. 24 Iowa.
Oklahoma City Recap: Arkansas’ nine-game home win streak was snapped March 16 when Oklahoma City edged the Lady’Backs, 7-6. Huckabee was solid at the plate with a two-RBI triple, which is her third of the season.
Georgia Recap: The Bulldogs snapped the Lady’Backs nine-game win streak in the Athens, Ga., March 11, with a 6-1 victory. After a 6-3 defeat, Arkansas closed the series with a 1-0 win, its first in Athens since 2000. Perry claimed the win for the Lady’Backs while only giving up three hits to the Bulldogs. Also, Henry earned her second save of the season.
Out of the Park: Huckabee recorded a team-high .429 batting average, .857 slugging percentage and two RBIs in the series with the Bulldogs. Huckabee also hit her first home run of the season.
Jacksonville State Recap: In the longest game of the season, Arkansas defeated the Gamecocks, 2-1 in 11 innings, in the tournament opener. Perry led the Lady’Backs with two hits including the game-winner. Henry took the win. In the second game, the Lady’Back offense was jump started as they won, 6-2. LeMaster was 3-for-4 at the plate.
Northwestern State Recap: In the sweep of the Demons, Arkansas opened the day with a 7-0 victory. Easley hit the first Lady’Backs home run in Fayetteville this season on her way to three hits in the game. In the second extra inning game of the invitational, Arkansas won, 3-1, in eight innings. Henry earned the win with 11 strikeouts in a complete game.
Centenary Recap: After a loss in the previous meeting this season, Arkansas returned the favor defeating Centenary, 3-0 and 1-0. In the final game of the tournament, Henry threw her first career no-hitter while tallying a season-high 13 strikeouts.
No No: Katy Henry’s no-hitter against Centenary was only the sixth in school history and the first since 2004. Henry finished with a 4-0 record in the tournament along with 41 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.
Third Time’s a Charm: In the Country Inn and Suites Arkansas Invitational, the Lady’Backs recorded five triples. Huckabee led the team with two.
Stolen Bases: The Lady’Backs were near perfect in stolen bases in the tournament as they finished 13-for-14. LeMaster paced the squad with six.
Double Trouble: Offensively, LeMaster led the Lady’Backs with 10 hits and a .435 batting average in the invitational.
It’s Out of Here: Easley went yard twice in the tournament. She is the only Lady’Back to hit a home run in Fayetteville so far this season.
Drake Recap: In the home opener, the Lady’Backs needed eight innings to defeat the Bulldogs, 1-0. Junior Meagan Harney came off the bench to pinch hit and she recorded the game-winning RBI with a double that scored freshman Brandy Baze. Junior pitcher Kayce Odle earned her first win at Arkansas with a seven strikeout, complete game performance.
Penn State Recap: The first ever meeting between the Lady’Backs and Nittany Lions was a good one. After a scoreless seven innings, both teams scored in the eighth but the Lady’Backs couldn’t make a comeback in the tenth and fell, 3-2. Freshman infielder Kayla Johnson had both the Lady’Back RBIs.
North Dakota State Recap: In Saturday’s game, Arkansas defeated the Bison, 3-0. Henry recorded her first win of the year with a season-high nine strikeouts in a complete game. Huckabee finished with a pair of doubles are RBIs.
Missouri-Kansas City Recap: In Arkansas’ 3-0 win over UMKC, Odle recorded the win while only giving up one hit and setting a season-high strikeout mark with seven.
Missouri State Recap: Trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, the Lady’Backs scored two runs in their final at bat to take the win, 3-2. Huckabee was the spark as she recorded the game-winning RBI.
Ring of Fire: The Lady’Back pitching staff had a very productive showing in the Lady’Back Invitational. Perry, Henry and Odle combine for a 0.36 team ERA with 35 strikeouts. Both Odle and Henry finished the weekend with 2-0 records. Odle led the team in strikeouts with 16 in 15.2 innings.
Leading the Way: Easley paced the Lady’Backs with a .412 batting average and seven hits in the tournament. Arkansas had three others batting over .300.
Just Another Day: Huckabee was a major factor in the Lady’Back offense with a .308 batting average and a team-high three doubles and four RBIs.
UAB Recap: In the first-ever meeting with the Blazers, the Lady’Back bats were cold. UAB held Arkansas to a season-low two hits. Easley and sophomore infielder Samantha Buckner led the team. Easley was 1-for-2 and Buckner was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Perry recorded four strikeouts and in three innings pitched.
Centenary Recap: For the first time in six games, Arkansas lost to Centenary. Freshman catcher Whitney Cloer tallied her first career home run against the Ladies to give the Lady’Backs a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Cloer finished the game with all four of the Arkansas RBIs when she hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. Senior outfielder Mindy O’Malley and Perry had a supporting role when they were 2-for-4 and 1-for-2, respectively, at the plate.
Welcome Back: In the win against Iowa, Perry recorded her first victory of the year while throwing a no-hitter through five innings. Offensively, Perry led the team with five hits while posting a .250 batting average. With her performance over the weekend, Perry was named to the all-tournament team.
Georgia Recap: In addition to Easley’s two RBIs, freshman Carrie Egnor and O’Malley also recorded two RBIs apiece. O’Malley also recorded her first double of the season against the Bulldogs.
North Carolina Recap: Odle recorded seven strikeouts while Buckner and Harney both came off the bench and went 1-for-1, which were doubles.
Iowa Recap: In the upset, Perry and Henry combine for 16 strikeouts against the Hawkeyes while only allowing one hit. At the plate, Buckner and Huckabee were 2-for-3.
Championship Recap: In the rematch with Iowa, Perry and O’Malley hit doubles with pinch-hitter Johnson going 1-for-1. Against North Carolina, Johnson and Harney both went 2-for-3. In relief, Henry dominated the Tar Heels from the circle as she struck out five of the six batters she faced.