TAMPA, FLA. – The University of Arkansas softball team opens the 2007 season Friday, Feb. 9, at the University of South Florida-Best Western Tournament in Tampa, Fla. The Lady Razorbacks compete against Virginia at 11:30 a.m. and then meet tournament host, No. 22 South Florida at 4:30 p.m., Friday. Arkansas is scheduled to play Western Kentucky at 9 a.m. Saturday and has an additional afternoon game in bracket play. Sunday’s game is determined from the previous two days’ outcomes. “I know the ladies are ready to go,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “The fundamentals, excitement and adrenaline will all take over, even though we might be a little rusty the first couple days.” In the season opener against Virginia, the Lady’Backs lead the all-time series 2-0 and won the last meeting, 7-1 and 2-0 in 2000 at Lady’Back Yard. Arkansas looks to even the series with South Florida losing the only game it has played against the Bulls, 4-2 in 2004. Last season, USF finished with a 50-25 record, making it to the NCAA Tournament. This is the first time in school history that the Lady’Backs face the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky. Pinkerton said the competition this weekend and in the tournaments to come should show the newcomers how competitive the Southeastern Conference truly is. “In this sport it doesn’t do you any good to play teams that aren’t highly competitive,” he said. “I want to play the ranked opponents and prepare the ladies for what they’re going to see in SEC play.” The Lady’Backs play a minimum of 24 games against opponents that competed in the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Arkansas returns 11 players from the 2006 squad that finished 26-35. Lone senior Rachel LeMaster leads the team that welcomes eight newcomers. For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.