FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Off to the best start in program history, the No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team now turns its attention to Southeastern Conference play with a weekend road series at ninth-ranked Alabama. The three-game series begins Friday evening at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Saturday’s game will be televised on the SEC Network with Trey Bender and Leigh Ross on the call.
2017 SEC Opener: #24 Arkansas at #9 Alabama
Rhoads Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) | Game Notes
Cracking the Top 25
For the first time since 2013, the Razorbacks are playing as a top-25 teams with their No. 24 ranking in this week’s release of the ESPN/USA Softball national poll (March 7). Twelve of 13 SEC teams are either ranked or receiving votes in this week’s ESPN poll. Arkansas checks in just one spot shy of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25.
What’s Your 20?
Through 20 games, the Razorbacks’ 19-1 mark is the best in program history, surpassing the 18-2 record set by the 2008 squad. During its opening stretch to the season, Arkansas has played four teams—Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Nebraska and Oklahoma—that advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament. The Razorbacks are 4-1 against those opponents.
Last Time Out
With a sweep of its midweek doubleheader against UMKC, Arkansas extended its winning streak to 11 games. The offense generated 23 runs on 26 hits in the two games while the pitching staff limited the Roos’ lineup to one run on three hits. The Razorbacks have scored 10 or more runs in eight games this season.
Series vs Alabama
Heading into this weekend’s series, Arkansas is looking to break a seven-game skid against the Crimson Tide with its last win posted during the 2012 season. Arkansas and Alabama have played 61 times; the Razorbacks have only played LSU more times (65) in conference play.
On the heels of a second SEC Player of the Week selection, senior slugger Nicole Schroeder was named espnW and USA Softball National Player of the Week (March 7) after hitting .632 (12-for-19) with five home runs including two grand slams, eight runs scored, 16 RBI and a 1.579 slugging percentage. She leads the NCAA with 12 home runs and 40 RBI.
Touch ‘Em All
Through its midweek wins over UMKC, Arkansas is tied for the NCAA lead with 33 home runs and ranks first in the nation with its .646 slugging percentage. The Razorbacks are also fifth in scoring (8.20 runs/game), sixth in batting average (.371), 11th in on-base percentage (.447) and 15th in ERA (1.26).
Get On and Score
Senior catcher Shelby Hiers is tied for the NCAA lead with 29 runs scored. She crossed the plate three times against UMKC to move into 10th place on the program’s career runs list. Hiers has already eclipsed her season total (28) from a year ago.
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