FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 21st season of University of Arkansas Softball begins this weekend with the three-team North Texas Invitational in Denton, Texas. With games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the Razorbacks are set for two games each against UMass Lowell and host North Texas.
2017 North Texas Invitational | Lovelace Stadium (Denton, Texas)
Feb. 11 vs UMass Lowell – 10:30 a.m.
Feb. 11 at North Texas – 1 p.m.
Feb. 12 vs UMass Lowell – 9 a.m.
Feb. 12 at North Texas – 1 p.m.
Against the Field
Arkansas and North Texas have split two previous meetings with wins on their respective home fields. The teams last met in 2010, a win for the Mean Green in Denton. This weekend’s games against UMass Lowell will be the first ever between the two programs. UMass Lowell is the first of four first-time opponents for Arkansas this season, including Connecticut, Kent State and Lamar.
Home Run Swing
The Razorbacks’ 49 home runs in 2016 marked the sixth-best total in program history. Arkansas returns 92 percent (45 of 49) of last year’s total. Sophomore Ashley Diaz led the team with 12 home runs last year, while seniors Shelby Hiers and Nicole Schroeder had nine and eight home runs, respectively.
Arms in the Circle
Senior Grace Moll returns to pace the pitching staff after recording a career-high 176 strikeouts in 2016. In addition to junior Allison Stewart, the staff will be boosted by newcomers Caroline Hedgcock, Autuum Storms and Katie Warrick. Moll pitched 244.2 of the Razorbacks’ 346.0 innings of play last season.
Opening Day Notes
Arkansas is 8-12 in season openers, and looking to snap a three-game skid on opening day. The Razorbacks have played 10 one-run games and six extra-inning games in the program’s season-opening history. In back-to-back years, Arkansas scored 16 runs in 2011 and 2012 for the program’s high mark on opening day.
The Razorbacks are scheduled to play their first 15 games on the road, making their home debut March 3 with day one of the Wooo Pig Classic. Arkansas will play host to IUPUI, Lamar and Nebraska at the home event. Admission is free for all home games at Bogle Park this season.
For more information about Arkansas softball, follow @RazorbackSB on Twitter.