The University of Arkansas softball team opens its regular season Friday traveling to Texarkana, Ark., for the Century Bank Classic. In its inaugural year, the three-day tournament features the Lady Razorbacks, Alabama-Birmingham, Centenary and Oklahoma State.
The 2008 Lady’Backs
Seniors Samantha Buckner, Katy Henry and Dayna Huckabee lead the 2008 Lady’Backs on the diamond. This season features the return of 15 letterwinners, including nine starters. Nine newcomers are a welcome addition and are ready to step to the plate and contribute immediately.
Henry leads a squad of five, with two returners, Miranda Dixon and Teighynne Husley and two freshmen, Kim Jones and Layne McGuirt.
Returning starter and junior Whitney Cloer is behind the plate for the Lady’Backs, with sophomore Jessica Waddle and freshmen Leslie Dixon and Amanda Caldwell adding depth.
Arkansas returns its entire infield from a year ago (Brandy Baze, Buckner, Huckabee, Kayla Johnson and Brittany Robison) and welcomes the addition of sophomore Sandra Smith, redshirt freshman Hannah Cicioni and newcomers Lauren Chisom, Amie Hubbard, Lauren Iverson and Emily Jones.
Arkansas’ outfield returns three starters including sophomore Jessica Bachkora, and juniors Hillary Freeman and Jocelyne Moncrief. Bachkora is expected to start in center, Freeman in left and Moncrief in right. Junior Brandy Foust and sophomore Jess Reed challenge for positions in the outfield. Sophomore Becca Carden redshirts this year.
Leading the way
Bachkora returns as one of the Lady’Backs’ top offensive threats. Bachkora led the Lady’Backs offensively the entire 2007 season and finished the year with a team-high .291 batting average, 30 runs, 58 hits, 10 doubles, five triples, and a .338 on-base percentage.
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. The poll was released Jan. 31.