FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team begins the 2006 season Friday, Feb. 10, at the Diamond Fun and Sun Classic in Miami, Fla.
The Lady Razorbacks open the year against No. 10 Georgia at 9:00 a.m. and then meet North Carolina at 1:00 p.m., Friday. Arkansas is schedule to play No. 24 Iowa at 11:00 a.m. and tournament host, Florida International at 3:00 p.m., Saturday. Sunday’s slate of games is determined from the previous two day’s outcomes.
Arkansas softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton said the first game of the tournament, against Georgia, should show the 10 newcomers how competitive the Southeastern Conference truly is.
“We’re going to find out pretty quickly where we are at,” he said. “We’ll find out immediately where we are at, with a young but old team.
Pinkerton said he expects four freshmen in the starting lineup Friday versus the Bulldogs and knows the challenge that lies ahead in Miami.
“I think the first three games will go a long way showing this young team what it’s going to take to play at the level we’re trying to get our program back to.”
In the tournament opener against Georgia, the Lady’Backs are trying to close the gap in the overall series, in which the Bulldogs have a 9-14 advantage. Last season, Georgia swept Arkansas in Fayetteville.
When the Lady’Backs play North Carolina and Iowa, it will be the first meeting against the programs in school history, while Arkansas has a 2-0 series lead over Florida International. The Lady’Backs last defeated the Panthers, 5-4, in 2002.
The Lady’Backs return 11 players from the 2005 squad including seniors Shana Easley, Mindy O’Malley, Blaire Perry and Barbara-Jean Southmayd.
For more information on Arkansas softball, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.