This weekThe University of Arkansas softball team travels to Baton Rouge, La., this weekend to take on No. 15 LSU. The Lady Razorbacks play a doubleheader on Saturday and one game on Sunday. Both are set to begin at 1 p.m.
RecapArkansas went 1-4 last week with its win coming against Ole Miss at home. Sophomore Miranda Dixon hit a game-winning, two-run home run to put Arkansas on top of Ole Miss 3-2. Freshman Kim Jones picked up her first SEC win in the circle after she entered the game in the top of the third and threw four and two-thirds scoreless innings. Jones improved to 5-2 overall and allowed just three hits, two walks and added two K’s.
League play winding upThe Lady’Backs have six SEC games remaining – LSU in Baton Rouge, La., and Mississippi State at Lady’Back Yard. Arkansas is still fighting for one of the top eight spots to make the SEC Tournament.
Leading Lady’BacksDixon led Arkansas hitting .308 on the week. She had four hits, one home run and three RBI. Junior Jocelyne Moncrief had a .300 batting average.
Arkansas vs. ranked opponentsThe Lady’Backs are 2-12 against ranked opponents, but in eight of those games Arkansas has not lost by more than two runs. Four games have ended one run short for the Lady’Backs and two have taken extra innings. Sophomore Jessica Bachkora has the best batting average (.326) when the opposition is ranked. Senior Katy Henry has been in the circle for both of Arkansas’ upsets.
How Arkansas’ stats rank in the SECThe Lady’Backs lead the SEC with 60 home runs, are third in total bases (637), fourth in slugging percentage (.447) and fifth in league in runs scored (259), doubles (60) and hits (381). Sophomore Sandra Smith is second in home runs with 14 and Dixon is fifth with 11. Senior Dayna Huckabee is second with four doubles. Junior Kayla Johnson is third with 46 runs scored and 99 total bases, and fifth in hits with 61. Dixon has the 5th most doubles (12) and RBI (40) and is seventh in slugging percentage (.649).
Where does Arkansas rank nationally in stats?As of April 20, Arkansas had the 5th-most home runs (60) in the nation and was 13th in home runs per game (1.09). The Lady’Backs were ranked 39th in slugging percentage (.447). Huckabee was 24th with four triples and Smith was 17th with 14 home runs.
Arkansas’ RPIThe National Fastpitch Coaches Association released a ratings percentage index (RPI) for Division I softball. As of April 22, Arkansas was ranked 41st 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.
New home run records setThe Lady’Backs’ season-record home run count is 60 which more than doubles the previous record of 28 set by last year’s squad. Smith hit her 14th home run of the season against Kentucky and holds the individual season home run record.
33 wins!The Lady’Backs won their 33rd game of the year against Ole Miss after finishing 2007 with 21 wins. Arkansas is hitting .268 compared to a .225 team batting average in 2007. Arkansas scored 80 more runs, has 81 more RBI, 17 more doubles, and 32 more home runs than last season.
More season recordsDixon currently holds the season RBI record with 40. Smith is right on her tail with 39 RBI. Both beat the previous record of 36 held by Jen Cirigliano in 2000. Johnson holds the season record for most runs with 46. The previous record was 39 held by Dana Gulick in 1999. Smith is two walks away from tying the record for most walks in a season.
Huckabee career leader in triples and home runsHuckabee 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 recordsThe Lady’Backs set season records with 231 RBI, 259 runs and 637 total bases this year. The previous team record was 233 runs in 1999, 190 RBI in 2000 and 614 total bases in 2000.
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.
Bachkora leads in conference playBachkora leads the Lady’Backs in conference play with a .288 average, 19 hits, three doubles and 11 runs. Johnson is batting .277 with 18 hits, three home runs, 11 runs, 10 RBI and a .462 slugging percentage.
Pinkerton one win awayHead coach Jamie Pinkerton is one win away from earning his 100th career win as head coach at Arkansas. Pinkerton currently has 99 wins.
Dixon named SEC Pitcher of the WeekDixon was named SEC Pitcher of the Week on April 21. 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.
Scouting LSUNo. 15 LSU goes on the road to Louisiana-Monroe in a midweek game before returning home to host Arkansas this weekend. The Tigers are 34-14 overall and 12-10 in the SEC. This past weekend they dropped a hard-fought series to then No. 11 Tennessee on Sunday by a score of 5-4. LSU is led by Rachel Mitchell with a .349 average. She has 52 hits, 11 doubles, 37 RBI and a .591 slugging percentage. Dani Hofer is the Tiger’s ace in the circle with an 18-7 record, a 1.90 ERA and 210 K’s.
Against the TigersLSU leads the all-time series 34-7 and swept Arkansas at home last year when it was ranked 6th. The Lady’Backs scored their only run of the series in the final game. Bachkora singled down the right field line in the 5th inning to score Buckner who doubled and was sacrificed to third by Rachel LeMaster. The Lady’Backs upset the Tigers in 2006 and won the series 2-1. LSU won seven of the last 10 meetings.
Rising career home run recordSix Lady’Backs on the 2008 squad hold the top six spots on the career home run list. Huckabee has the record with 20, Dixon is second with 18, Smith is third with 15, Buckner is fourth with 14 and Cloer and Johnson are sixth with 13.
Double digit runs, hits and RBIThe Lady’Backs had double-digit runs in eight games, hits in 12 and RBI in seven.
More program bestsThe Lady’Backs have program-bests with a .268 batting average, a . 447 slugging percentage and a .343 on-base percentage.
First sweep of the yearThe 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.
Bachkora goes yardBachkora hit her first career home run to tie the game 2-2 in the nightcap against Oklahoma.
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.
Best win at Lady’Back YardArkansas’ 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.
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 had 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 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.