FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team travels to Shreveport, La., for the Centenary College Classic, Feb. 17-19.
The Lady Razorbacks (1-5) open the tournament Friday, Feb. 17, against the University of Alabama-Birmingham (0-0) at 2:30 p.m. and also meet Centenary (3-2) at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Arkansas is scheduled to meet Alcorn State (1-6) at 12:15 p.m. followed by Nicholls State (1-2) at 2:30 p.m. The schedule for the championship round on Sunday is determined from the team’s records in round-robin play.
Lady’Back softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton said he hopes the team continues to improve after the opening weekend in the Diamond Fun and Sun Classic, where Arkansas upset No. 24 Iowa.
“What we want out of the weekend, obviously, is to clean up the pitching, focus for seven innings, and execute our short game and move our runners,” he said. “Offensively, I think that’s one of the problems that we had in Miami.”
Pinkerton said he is excited to see the newcomers in their second tournament after they worked out their jitters in the season opener, including the newest member of the Lady’Back pitching staff.
“This will give Kayce Odle another chance to get out and throw,” he said. “She did really well in her first two appearances and I think she got nervous on us a little bit in the second two appearances. I was real impressed with the way she threw.”
The games between UAB and Alcorn State mark the first meeting in school history for the teams, while in 1998 Arkansas defeated Nicholls State, 2-1, in the only previous meeting. The Lady’Backs have a 5-0 series advantage over Centenary, which includes a doubleheader sweep last season in Shreveport.
Pinkerton said he expects quite a challenge from the tournament host, who beat a ranked Southeastern Conference foe in its first tournament of the year.
“This is a scary opponent,” he said. “It took everything that we had to beat them down there last year. They beat No. 17 Auburn last weekend. They’re playing really well right now.”
Offensively, freshman Kayla Johnson, and seniors Blaire Perry and Shana Easley led the Lady’Backs in Miami. Johnson posted a .308 batting average while Perry and Easley combined for nine hits and four RBIs. In the circle, Perry finished with a 1-1 record and a 1.56 ERA.
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