The University of Arkansas softball team faces Indiana State in a midweek doubleheader on Wednesday before continuing Southeastern Conference play, hosting No. 4 Florida at home Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Razorbacks lost their first SEC series against South Carolina this past weekend. Arkansas dropped the first game 5-4, won the second 3-2 and fell to the Gamecocks in the rubber match on Sunday, 4-0.
Saturday’s game televised by Cox Sports Television
The Lady’Backs’ game at noon on Saturday will be televised live by Cox Sports Television. Please tune in to channel 119 on Suddenlink and Cox cable locally to catch all the Arkansas softball action.
Smith leads Lady’Backs to first SEC win
Sophomore Sandra Smith hit a three-run home run to lead the Lady’Backs to a 3-2 victory against South Carolina this past Saturday. Down 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning, with two on and one out, Smith launched her ninth home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field, to put the Lady’Backs up 3-1.
Dixon’s first SEC win of the year
Sophomore Miranda Dixon (7-2) earned her first SEC win of the year in the same contest, throwing a complete game and fanning a career-high 10 batters.
Bachkora leads the way
Lead-off batter and sophomore Jessica Bachkora led Arkansas hitting .500 on the weekend. She had four hits, one double and scored three runs.
New home run records set
Smith’s ninth homer of the year is the new individual season home run record and marked the Lady’Backs’ 30th home run, the team season record. 30 home runs breaks the previous record of 28 set by last year’s squad.
Two wins away
The Lady’Backs are two wins away from matching their win total from 2007. Arkansas finished with a 21-43 record last season and already have 19 wins. Arkansas is hitting over .285 compared to a .225 team batting average in 2007. Arkansas needs just 27 runs and 21 RBI to meet last year’s totals as well.
Lady’Backs in the SEC
Arkansas leads the SEC in home runs with 30 and is third in the league in runs scored (149), slugging percentage (.468) and RBI (129). Smith leads the SEC with nine home runs, followed by Dixon with seven and Buckner with 6. Smith (28) and Dixon (26) lead the league in RBI. Dixon still has conference highs in slugging percentage (.897) and total bases (61). She is second in the SEC with eight doubles, third with a .441 batting average and fourth with 30 hits.
More program bests
The Lady’Backs have a batting average of .285 and a slugging percentage of .469. Both are the highest in program history.
Senior Samantha Buckner ended an 11-game hitting streak in game two against South Carolina. Junior Kayla Johnson started the year on a 12-game hitting streak while junior Whitney Cloer had an 11-game hitting streak. The streaks are the longest of their careers.
Rising career home run record
Senior Dayna Huckabee reclaimed her career home run record launching three home runs at Arizona State for a career total of 16. Dixon is second with 14, junior Whitney Cloer is fourth with 11 and Buckner and Smith are fifth with 10 each.
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.
Arkansas with votes
Arkansas received one vote in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll on Feb. 19. The next two weeks the Lady’Backs tallied several votes in that poll and in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll.
12-game winning streak
The Lady’Backs were on a program-best 12-game winning streak before their loss to Arizona State. 12 consecutive wins matches the most in program history which happend during the 1999 season.
Double digit runs, hits and RBI
The Lady’Backs had double-digit runs in five games, hits in seven and RBI in four.
Buckner excels as lead-off batter
Buckner is batting .500 as a lead-off batter. She has led off 20 times and has 10 hits, four home runs, four RBI and a 1.100 slugging percentage.
With runners on base, Dixon hits
Dixon has a .525 batting average with runners on base. She tallied 21 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and 22 RBI. With runners in scoring position, Dixon is even better with a .552 average and a 1.034 slugging percentage.
Robison is Arkansas’ best pinch hitter
Sophomore Brittany Robison has had seven opportunities as a pinch hitter and has gotten two hits for a .286 average. She is the only Lady’Back to collect a hit in a pinch hitting situation.
Scouting Indiana State
The doubleheader with Arkansas will be Indiana State’s seventh game in five days. At 6-8, the Sycamores lost to UMKC on Monday 6-2, and face Central Arkansas Tuesday before coming to Fayetteville on Wednesday. Indiana State hits .243 as a team with a 4.64 team ERA. ISU is led by Katie Armour with a .333 batting average. In the circle, Megan McCurdy (4-2) leads the staff with 3.39 ERA and 37 K’s.
The No. 4 Florida Gators have a midweek SEC doubleheader with Alabama before traveling to Fayetteville to take on the Lady’Backs. Florida carries a record of 27-1 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. The Gators were picked to finish atop the Eastern Division and swept Ole Miss in its first weekend of league play. The Gators boast a .311 team batting average , a 1.12 ERA and a .973 fielding percentage. They are led by Tiffany DeFelice and Kim Waleszonia. DeFelice has .390 average and Waleszonia has a team high 34 hits, three triples and 13 stolen bases. Stacey Nelson (16-1) leads the team and the SEC in strikeouts with 155 and has a 1.03 ERA.
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. Versus The previous record was three home runs last set on April 18, 2007 against Louisiana Tech.
Grand slam home run
Down 5-1 in the sixth inning against ASU, sophomore Sandra Smith launched a grand slam home run to right center to even the score at five apiece and force extra innings. Smith was just the fifth Lady’Back to hit a grand slam, with Kim Eiben being the last in 2001.
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 junior Whitney Cloer. Senior and career-home-run record holder, Dayna 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.
More on Smith
In Tempe, three of Smith’s four hits were home runs and every hit scored atleast one run, tallying a team-high 10 RBI for Smith on the weekend.
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.
Three tournaments, three wins
The Lady’Backs competed in three tournaments their frist and came home with three tournament titles. Arkansas won the Century Bank Classic, the Metrodome Classic and the Clarion Inn-Arkansas Invitational.
Sophomore Jessica Bachkora and junior Kayla 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
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.