FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Looking to snap a season-high four game skid, the Razorback softball team will travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the top-ranked Florida Gators in a three-game weekend series. Play is scheduled to begin at noon Saturday with game two of the doubleheader to start approximately 20 minutes after the completion of the first. First pitch of Sunday’s series finale is set for noon.
Arkansas (25-21, 10-11) lost its last game, an extra-inning affair against Missouri State, to equal its longest losing streak of the season. Despite the non-conference setback, the Razorbacks remain in third place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division, a game behind second-place LSU.
Florida leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 23-11, with wins in 10 of the last 12 games between the two teams. Last season, the Gators swept a three-game series played in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks are 5-12 in games played on Florida’s home field. In its past five trips to Gainesville to face the Gators, Arkansas has won a game in each series. Florida is 28-2 at home this season.
Tori Mort was the hitting star for Arkansas in its loss to Missouri State. After a one-game stint at the eighth position in the hitting lineup, the freshman left fielder returned to the No. 2 spot against the Bears and delivered the first three-hit performance of her career. Mort has upped her batting average to .243.
The Razorbacks’ top hitter is Whitney Cloer with a .340 batting average. The senior catcher has hit safely in nine of Arkansas’ 14 games this month, but hasn’t recorded an RBI in seven contests. Cloer is tied for second in the SEC with 13 doubles, a career high total.
Jessica Bachkora and Kayla Johnson are tied for the team lead in runs scored with 29. Bachkora is hitting .291 this season, while Johnson, Arkansas’ all-time runs scored leader, is batting .287. Freshman shortstop Brittany Griffiths is third on the team with a .287 batting average. She leads the team with two triples.
Arkansas’ home run leader with nine, Miranda Dixon is also the team’s top pitcher. In the circle, Dixon is 16-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 33 appearances, including 24 starts. In 162.2 innings pitched, she has struck out 124 batters and walked just 50, but has allowed 183 hits. Her four-save total leads the SEC.
Kim Jones, the team’s usual game-one starter this season, is 7-9 with a 3.60 ERA in 24 appearances. She has thrown a career-high 112.2 innings with 75 strikeouts. As a whole, the Razorback staff holds a 3.95 ERA this season.
The Gators are the unanimous No.1-ranked team in the nation with a 46-3 record this season and a 23-1 mark in the SEC, its lone loss coming March 29 to Alabama. Florida has clinched its second consecutive SEC regular-season title.
As a team, Florida is hitting .320 overall with eight batters carrying a .300 or better batting average. Francesca Enea is hitting .354 with 15 home runs and 57 RBI. She is one of three Gators with at least 11 home runs followed by Megan Bush (12) and Kelsey Bruder (11). Florida is hitting .303 against SEC teams.
Stacey Nelson, the defending SEC Pitcher of the Week, is 27-3 this season with an NCAA-best 0.41 ERA, both figures lead the SEC. In 185.2 innings pitched, she has struck out 232 batters and not allowed a home run. Stephanie Brombacher is 19-0 with a 0.87 ERA, the sixth-best mark in the nation. The sophomore hurler has yet to lose during her collegiate career (39-0).
Florida returns five All-Americans from 2008 in the forms of Enea, Nelson, Aja Paculba (.366 BA), Ali Gardiner (.320 BA) and Kim Waleszonia (.386 BA).
Game one of Saturday’s doubleheader between Arkansas and Florida will be televised by Sun Sports. All three games of the weekend set in Gainesville will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, which will also carry live stats.
Download: 2009 notes.pdf