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Conference plays opens with South Carolina

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Conference plays opens with South Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback softball team opens Southeastern Conference play with a Wednesday doubleheader at Bogle Park against the South Carolina Gamecocks. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. with game two to follow and scheduled for a 5 p.m. start. Arkansas (11-9) enters conference play off a 2-2 showing at the Oklahoma State Mizuno Classic last weekend in Stillwater, Okla.

“We’re excited about playing our first conference game in Bogle Park,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “We have South Carolina coming to town and I think we match up well with them so it could turn into a battle of wills: who’s going to hit better, who’s going to pitch better, who’s going to play defense.”

Whitney Cloer leads the team in hitting with a .355 batting average, 13 RBI and seven doubles. The senior catcher is tied for third in the SEC with her doubles total. Cloer has three home runs on the season with two of those coming in her last four games.

Amie Hubbard and Brittany Griffiths are tied for second on the team hitting .300. Hubbard had a hit in each of the Razorbacks’ game this past weekend, while Griffiths raised her batting average from .238 with a 4-for-9 showing in Stillwater. The freshman shortstop is tied for fifth in the conference with two triples.

Jessica Bachkora is hitting .292 with three home runs, 12 RBI and a team-high 15 runs scored. She is tied for eighth in the SEC with six doubles and ninth in the league with 10 stolen bases.

The doubleheader between the Razorbacks and South Carolina will feature the bottom two hitting teams in the SEC. Arkansas carries a .244 batting average as a team, while the Gamecocks are hitting .236.

In the circle, Miranda Dixon leads the Hog staff with a 6-2 record, three saves and a 2.64 ERA. In 61 innings pitched this season, the junior hurler has recorded 51 strikeouts and 16 walks. In her last start, a 3-1 victory over Cleveland State, Dixon had 10 strikeouts and no walks.

Kim Jones has made a team-high seven starts this season. She is 3-4 with a 3.57 ERA and 37 strikeouts through 51 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .253 against her.

Arkansas trails in the all-time series with South Carolina, 10-23, including the Gamecocks taking two of three last season in Columbia. The win for Arkansas was its first against South Carolina since the 2002 season. The Gamecocks have won nine straight in Fayetteville.“We’ve been prepping with our non-conference schedule to be ready for Wednesday,” Pinkerton said. “The ladies are working hard right now and we just need to catch some breaks, but we need to make our own breaks, too. I’m just looking forward to us being more consistent.”

South Carolina (12-5, 0-3) began its conference schedule last weekend losing three games to Florida. The Gamecocks are 0-1 on the road this season.

Ashton Payne leads South Carolina with a .339 batting average and 19 hits. Evan Childs has been the power source for the Gamecocks with three home runs and 11 RBI, but is hitting just .196. On the season, South Carolina is hitting .236 and averaging 2.9 runs per game.

In the circle, Audrey Broyles and Kierstyn White head up the Gamecock pitching staff which has a 1.75 team ERA. Broyles is 6-3 with a 1.53 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 12 walks through 55 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .221 against her. White carries a 5-0 record and a 1.47 ERA through 38 innings.

“We have to get off to a good start (in conference play),” Pinkerton said. “In the past couple of years, our schedule has been top heavy with ranked teams but South Carolina has been receiving votes and they are 12-5 with three losses to No. 1 Florida so there is not a day off in this conference.”The mid-week doubleheader will be broadcast on KXUA (88.3 FM). Live stats and game streaming will also be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

Download: 2009 notes.pdf



Sports Category : Softball