The University of Arkansas softball team hosts the Border War, welcoming Oklahoma State and Tulsa on Wednesday. Arkansas’ doubleheader begins at 5 p.m. Arkansas travels to No. 15 Georgia this weekend for a three-game Southeastern Conference series.
Senior Samantha Buckner hit a grand-slam home run that lifted the Lady Razorbacks to a 5-2 come-from-behind victory against the eighth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols on Friday. The Lady’Backs dropped the series to UT 2-1. Arkansas lost a mid-week doubleheader to Auburn on Tuesday.
Best win at Lady’Back Yard
Arkansas’ win over 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.
Second grand slam in 2008
Buckner’s grand slam was the second this season and just the sixth in program history. The last grand slam was by sophomore Sandra 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.
The Lady’Backs were led by junior Whtiney Cloer on the week. Cloer hit .467 with seven hits, two doubles, two RBI and one run. Buckner hit two homers and tallied six RBI.
Cloer leads in conference play
Cloer leads the Lady’Backs in conference play with a .355 batting average. She has 11 hits, two doubles, one run and a .419 slugging percentage and a .412 on-base percentage. Sophomore Jessica Bachkora is close behind with a .345 average, 10 hits, one double and six runs.
New home run records set
Smith and Buckner are tied with nine homers each, setting the individual season home run record. The Lady’Backs hit hit five home runs last week to make their season-record count 38, which breaks the previous record of 28 set by last year’s squad.
The Lady’Backs won their 22nd game of the year against No. 8 Tennessee which beats their win total from the 2007 season when they finished 21-43. Arkansas is hitting .277 compared to a .225 team batting average in 2007. Arkansas has scored 10 more runs and has 16 more RBI than last season, and is one double away from matching its 2007 count.
Moncrief hits first career double
In the sixth inning of game one against Auburn, junior Jocelyne Moncrief led off with the first double of her career to right field.
Lady’Backs in the SEC
Arkansas leads the SEC in home runs with 38 and is third in the league in runs scored (186), RBI (166) and total bases (418). Smith and Buckner lead the SEC with nine home runs, Dixon is second with eight. Dixon has conference highs in slugging percentage (.804) and total bases (74) and is second with 11 doubles. Junior Kayla Johnson (33) has the third-most runs. Dixon is fourth in RBI with 31 and Smith is sixth with 30.
More program bests
The Lady’Backs have a batting average of .277 and a slugging percentage of .452. Both are the highest in program history.
On route to beat season RBI record
Dixon (31) and Smith (30) and on their way to beating the season RBI record currently held by Jen Cirigliano. Cirigliano hit 36 RBI in 2000.
Johnson is on a seven-game hitting streak. Cloer ended a six-game hitting streak in the second game against Auburn. Cloer and Buckner had 11-game hitting streaks and Dixon had a nine-game streak earlier in the season. Johnson started the year on a 12-game hitting streak. The streaks are the longest of their careers.
Rising career home run record
Huckabee holds the career home run record with 17 homers. Dixon is second with 15, Buckner is third with 13, Cloer is fourth with 12 and Smith is sixth with 10.
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 eight-inning loss to Arizona State. 12 consecutive wins matches the most in program history which happend during the 1999 season.
Scouting Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State (14-16) dropped its first two Big 12 games against Missouri this past weekend. The Cowgirls are on a four-game losing streak and dropped the last five out of six games. Arkansas and OSU faced off earlier in the season and the Lady’Backs came out on top by one run in both games. The Cowgirls are led by Mariah Gearhart who has 32 hits, 20 runs, 18 stolen bases, a .352 batting average and a .455 on-base percentage. Kim Kaye leads the team with nine home runs and 22 RBI with a .634 slugging percentage. Amanda Crabtree (7-9) is OSU’s #1 in the circle with 92 K’s in 83.2 innings pitched.
The Golden Hurricane (17-14) come into Wednesday’s contests after being swept by Central Florida this past weekend. Do not overlook Tulsa, as they upset #9 Oklahoma in early March. Lauren Lindsay leads the team with a .392 average, 40 hits, 15 doubles, 25 runs, 27 RBI, a .765 slugging percentage and a .447 on-base percentage. Jackie Lawrence (8-6) has thrown the most innings (93.1) for Tulsa and has a team-high 75 strikeouts.
Last year’s Border War
The 2007 Border War was scheduled to be played in Stillwater, Okla., but after Arkansas traveled to Oklahoma State, the games were rained out.
Double digit runs, hits and RBI
The Lady’Backs had double-digit runs in six games, hits in eight and RBI in five.
With runners in scoring position, Dixon hits
Dixon has a .500 batting average with runners in scoring position. She tallied 18 hits, seven doubles, three home runs, 24 RBI and has a .944 slugging percentage.
Robison is Arkansas’ best pinch hitter
Sophomore Brittany Robison has had nine at bats as a pinch hitter and has gotten three hits, one double and one home run, for a .333 average. She is the only Lady’Back to collect a hit in a pinch hitting situation. Robison (1), Teighynne Hulsey (3) and Jessica Waddle (1) have drawn walks.
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.
Three tournaments, three wins
The Lady’Backs competed in three tournaments their first three weekends and came home with three tournament titles. Arkansas won the Century Bank Classic, the Metrodome Classic and the Clarion Inn-Arkansas Invitational.
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
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.