This WeekThe University of Arkansas softball team faces No. 2 Alabama in a midweek doubleheader Wednesday, before traveling to Knoxville for a three-game series against No. 1 Tennessee Saturday and Sunday.
RecapThe Lady Razorbacks went 2-6 last week, defeating North Dakota State 2-1 and Nebraska 5-4.
Arkansas’ Best BatterSenior Rachel LeMaster hit .423, collecting 11 hits and three runs this week. She had a season-high three hits twice, and against NDSU March 18 also had a season-high two runs. LeMaster is on a four-game hitting streak, batting .615 (8-for-13) in those games. She also hit one of two RBIs in Saturday’s game against NDSU leading the Lady’Backs to a 2-1 win.
Game WinnersSophomore Whitney Cloer and junior Samantha Buckner both had game-winning hits this weekend. Against Nebraska on Sunday, Cloer hit her second home run of the game and third of the year in the sixth inning, a two-out, two-run shot to right center, giving the Lady’Backs the 5-3 lead. Buckner hit an RBI single in the seventh inning Saturday to give Arkansas the 2-1 victory against the Bison.
Win Number ThreeFreshman pitcher Miranda Dixon went 2-0 earning her third win of the season Sunday against Nebraska. Dixon allowed just one earned run and had nine strike outs in four appearances and 18.2 innings pitched this week. Dixon also has the lowest ERA on the team at 2.79.
It’s Out of HereJunior Dayna Huckabee tied the career home run record March 18 with a two-out, two-run blast in the first inning against Nebraska. She hit five home runs this year and 12 in her career.
Pinkerton Approaches 200 WinsHead coach Jamie Pinkerton is three wins away from 200 career victories with 197 wins as a Division I head coach.
Lady’Back Home Run RecordsThe Lady’Backs hit three home runs, a team game record, in two contests this season, March 4 against Louisiana-Monroe and March 18 against Nebraska. The previous record was two.
Huckabee’s HittingJunior Dayna Huckabee leads the team with a .552 slugging percentage, 58 total bases, 23 RBIs and five home runs. She is also the team leader with seven multiple-RBI games, including a game March 3rd against Northern Iowa where she had five RBIs.
Fanning the OpponentJunior Katy Henry is fourth in the conference in strikeouts with 136. Tennessee’s Monica Abbott leads the way with a commanding 319 K’s while Auburn’s Anna Thompson is second with 166. South Carolina’s Melissa Hendon sits third with 146.
Leading the WayFreshman Jessica Bachkora continues to lead the Lady’Backs with a .349 batting average. She also has team-highs 38 hits and a .377 on-base percentage.
Top ThievesBachkora and LeMaster lead the team in stolen bases. Bachkora is 13-for-15, and LeMaster is 13-for-17. The Lady’Backs have 37 stolen bases as a team.
About AlabamaThe No. 2 University of Alabama softball team hit two home runs on Sunday to lead the Tide to a series sweep over No. 24 South Carolina. Alabama used three home runs to score all six of their runs in its doubleheader win against USC Saturday. The Tide won their games 3-1, 1-0, and 5-3(10) improving to 28-1 on the year and 7-1 in SEC play. Charlotte Morgan was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the third time this season. Morgan led the Crimson Tide in hitting last week with a .357 avg. (5-of-14). She hit home runs against both Florida and South Carolina to give her a home run in all three SEC series this season. Her two-run home run against South Carolina came in the 10th inning and ended up being the difference in a 5-3 victory. Alabama lost to Florida on March 14 by a score of 4-8.
Versus the Crimson TideAlabama leads the all-time series against Arkansas 30-7 and won the last three-game series in 2006 in Fayetteville.
About TennesseeNo. 1 Tennessee (28-2, 6-2 SEC) claimed a three-game series sweep of Mississippi State with 5-1, 2-1(8) and 3-0 victories this past weekend. The Lady Vols have a team batting average of .320 and a team ERA of 0.61. They are led by senior pitcher Monica Abbott who has 319 strikeouts and 14 shutouts this season. Tennessee lost to Florida (0-4) March 10, and Ole Miss (4-5) March 14. The Lady Vols face South Carolina Wednesday, March 21 before facing The Lady’Backs Saturday and Sunday.
Versus the Lady VolsTennessee leads the series with Arkansas 18-10. The Lady Vols swept the Lady’Backs in last season’s three-game series in Fayetteville.
Run Rachel RunRachel LeMaster is approaching the career stolen bases record of 72 by Dana Gulick. LeMaster currently sits second with 66 stolen bases.
Dixon homers three timesFreshman Miranda Dixon hit three home runs and was 7-for-7, helping the Lady’Backs to two victories March 4 at Lady’Back Yard. Dixon put Arkansas up 6-5 against Northern Iowa with a two-run shot on two outs in the fifth inning. Against ULM she hit a lead-off home run in the fourth inning to bring the Lady’Backs within one run of the Warhawks, and homered again in the seventh to put the Lady’Backs up 8-4. Dixon had seven hits, seven RBIs and four runs on the day. She also marked a new Lady’Back Yard record, hitting two home runs in a game.
Bachkora breaks school recordFreshman Jessica Bachkora broke the school record for most triples in a single game on Feb. 25 against Missouri. Bachkora hit two triples, breaking the previous record of one. She is the only player in the SEC with two triples in a game.
Hitting StreaksRachel LeMaster and Bachkora both started the season with a six-game hitting streak. The streaks ended against third-ranked Texas A&M, Feb. 16. Kayla Johnson also had a six-game hitting streak this season.
Preseason PredictionsArkansas was selected to finish fourth in the SEC Western Division. The Lady’Backs received 37 points trailing LSU with 14 points, Alabama with 15 points and Auburn with 30 points. Tennessee was unanimously voted as the overall champion with 10 votes while Florida received one vote.
New Faces on the FieldThe returning letterwinners are joined this season by eight new faces. Freshmen Jessica Bachkora (Overland Park, Kan.), Hannah Cicioni (Rogers, Ark.), Miranda Dixon (Edmond, Okla.), Teighynne Hulsey (Edmond, Okla.), Jess Reed (Fayetteville, Ark.), Brittany Robison (Owasso, Okla), Jessica Waddle (Chickasha, Okla.) and sophomore-transfer Dara Clark (Farmington, Ark.) all compete for playing time in 2007.
2008 SigneesAmanda Caldwell of Victoria, Texas, Lauren Chisom a Bentonville, Ark. native, Leslie Dixon from Edmond, Okla., Lauren Iverson of Grove, Okla., Emily Jones a Joplin, Mo. native, Kim Jones from Lenexa, Kan., Jacey Juden of Arkansas City, Kan., and Wynne, Ark. native Layne McGuirt signed national letters of intent to play softball at Arkansas and officially become part of the Lady’Back program in the 2007-08 academic year.