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       FAYETTEVILLE – First-year softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton announced the 2004-05 schedule for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks.
        Pinkerton said the fall season — which begins with a scrimmage on Sept. 19 as the Lady’Backs host Bacone, Neosho County and Connors State — gives the new coaching staff an opportunity to assess the team.
        “Basically, we’ll use the fall as an evaluation and learning period,” Pinkerton said.
        The Lady’Backs also host fall scrimmages on Sept. 26 with Northeastern A&M, Texarkana College and Northeastern State and on Oct. 2 with Carl Albert, Southwest Missouri State, and Evangel.
        Arkansas begins the 2005 season with three consecutive tournaments, starting Feb. 4-6 as the Lady’Backs travel to the Cal Poly Tournament in San Luis Obispo, Calif. They continue on the road at the New Mexico State Tournament in Las Cruces, N.M, Feb. 11-13, and the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tournament in Corpus Christi, Texas, Feb. 18-22.
        Pinkerton said the tournaments prepare the Lady’Backs for conference play.
        “The first three tournaments will go a long way to see where we are as a team,” Pinkerton said.
        For the 2005 home opener, Arkansas host the first of two home tournaments with the Lady’Back Invitational against the University of Louisiana-Monroe and University of Missouri-Kansas City.
        Before the Lady’Backs begin Southeastern Conference play, they travel to Oklahoma for a double-header against the Women’s College World Series participants Sooners on March 2.
        The Lady’Backs begin SEC competition when they host South Carolina March 8-9.
        Pinkerton said he knows conference play is intense.
        “SEC play is going to be tough day in and day out,” Pinkerton said.
        Eight SEC teams qualified for the 2004 NCAA Regionals with LSU playing in the WCWS. In the final 2004 USA TODAY/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, five teams in the conference were ranked in the top 25.
        Arkansas travels to No. 23 Auburn on March 12-13 for the Lady’Backs’ first SEC road trip. Arkansas host No. 11 Georgia March 25-26. On April 2-3, the Lady’Backs face No. 18 Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. Arkansas travels to SEC Tournament Champion LSU April 6-7. The Lady’Backs conclude regular SEC competition against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala on May 6-7.
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