The University of Arkansas softball team hosts No. 1 Alabama at Lady’Back Yard on Thursday for a doubleheader before welcoming Ole Miss to Fayetteville for a three-game Southeastern Conference series on Saturday and Sunday.
The Lady Razorbacks went 4-1 last week, upsetting then No. 11 Oklahoma and sweeping SEC opponent Kentucky. The Lady’Backs battled to 6-5, nine inning win in game one and shutout the Wildcats in game two. On Sunday Arkansas make quick work of UK in a five-inning, 14-1 run rule. Arkansas defeated Oklahoma, 3-2, on April 7 at Lady’Back Yard for the first time in school history. Arkansas split the doubleheader with a 3-2 loss in eight innings in the nightcap. Arkansas’ win marked the first time it defeated the Sooners in school history.
First sweep of the year
The Lady’Backs took all three games from the Wildcats for their first SEC sweep of the year and to mark the first time in school history that Arkansas swept Kentucky in Lexington. The last time Arkansas swept an SEC opponent was at Lady’Back Yard in 2007 against Kentucky.
Dixon named SEC Pitcher of the Week
Sophomore Miranda Dixon was named SEC Pitcher of the Week on Monday. The Edmond, Okla., native led the Lady’Backs to their first SEC sweep this season winning two games in the circle against Kentucky. She held OU to just three hits, earned her second shutout of the year against Kentucky in game two against the Wildcats and tallied eight K’s and gave up her only earned run of the week in the final contest of the series. Dixon posted a 0.35 ERA and had atleast one hit and one RBI at the plate in every game against UK.
Junior Kayla Johnson led the team hitting .471 with eight hits, three doubles, two home runs, six RBI and six runs. Senior Dayna Huckabee boasted a .400 average with six hits, a double, a triple, two home runs and five RBI.
Nine out of 10
Arkansas won the last nine out of 10 contests, with its only loss coming against OU in extra innings.
Lady’Backs outstanding in the circle
The Arkansas pitching staff went 4-1 and had a 0.97 ERA last week with 31 K’s in 36 innings pitched. Dixon took two games from Kentucky, including one shutout. Dixon only gave up three hits in her one loss of the week against OU. Senior Katy Henry held OU to two runs and picked up her 15th win of the year and second against a ranked opponent. Henry also threw a complete game, nine innings, in Arkansas’ first win against the Wildcats.
Bachkora goes yard
Sophomore Jessica Bachkora hit her first career home run to tie the game 2-2 in the nightcap against the Sooners.
New home run records set
The Lady’Backs hit nine home runs against the Wildcats, increasing their season-record home run count to 59 which breaks the previous record of 28 set by last year’s squad. Smith hit her 14th home run of the season against Kentucky setting the individual season home run record.
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.
The Lady’Backs won their 32nd game of the year against Kentucky which clinches Arkansas a winning record and 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 scored 79 more runs, 77 more RBI and 16 more doubles than last season.
More season records
In addition to holding the season home run record, Smith broke the season RBI record with her 39th RBI off of a three-run shot against UK. Dixon is right behind Smith with 37 RBI. Both beat the previous record of 36 held by Jen Cirigliano in 2000. Johnson holds the season record for most runs with 45. The previous record was 39 held by Dana Gulick in 1999.
Huckabee career leader in triples and home runs
Huckabee is now the front-runner in both career triples and home runs (20). 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 records
The Lady’Backs set season records with 227 RBI, 255 runs and 618 total bases in 2008. The previous team record was 233 runs in 1999, 190 RBI in 2000 and 614 total bases in 2000.
Henry career saves leader
Henry 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.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association released a ratings percentage index (RPI) for Division I softball. As of April 10, Arkansas was ranked 38th 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.
Alabama (39-3, 18-2 SEC) is the top ranked team in the nation and comes to Lady’Back Yard on an 18-game winning streak. The Crimson Tide’s last lost was against Florida on March 12. Alabama takes on the USA Olympic team in an exhibition game on Tuesday before traveling to Fayetteville. The Tide is hitting .346 as a team with 88 doubles and 54 home runs. Brittany Rogers leads the way individually with a .464 average. Charlotte Morgan has a team-high 12 home runs and 52 RBI with a .829 slugging percentage. The pitching staff holds an ERA of 1.66 and Kelsi Dunne leads with 172 K’s.
Ole Miss took won its last SEC series over No. 12 LSU to pick up two more conference wins to improve to 19-24 overall and 3-17 in league play. The Rebels are led by Lauren Gill with a .364 batting average, 44 hits, 26 runs, 11 doubles, nien home runs, 37 RBI, a .678 slugging percentage and a .458 on-base percentage. Ole Miss as a team is hitting .240 with an ERA of 2.34.
Bachkora leads in conference play
Bachkora leads the Lady’Backs in conference play with a .333 average, 17 hits, three doubles, 10 runs and a .382 on-base percentage. Johnson is batting .327 with 17 hits, three home runs, 10 runs, 10 RBI and a .538 slugging percentage.
Second grand slam in 2008
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
Six Lady’Backs on the 2008 squad hold the top six spots on the career home run list. Huckabee holds the record with 20, Dixon is second with 17, Smith is third with 15, Buckner is fourth with 14 and Cloer and Johnson are sixth with 13.
Best win at Lady’Back Yard
Arkansas’ win over No. 8 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.
Double digit runs, hits and RBI
The Lady’Backs had double-digit runs in eight games, hits in 12 and RBI in seven.
More program bests
The Lady’Backs have program-bests with a batting average of .278 and a slugging percentage of .469.
Pinkerton two wins away
Head coach Jamie Pinkerton is two wins away from earning his 100th career win as head coach at Arkansas. Pinkerton currently has 98 wins.
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.
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
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 SEC 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.