FAYETTEVILLE-University of Arkansas softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton announced the 2006 softball schedule today, featuring 21 home dates including two home tournaments and a first-ever appearance in central Arkansas.
The Lady’Backs face 13 teams that played in the NCAA tournament and host Southeastern Conference foes, Alabama and Tennessee, who participated in the Women’s College World Series.
Pinkerton said he expects to learn a great deal about his team before conference play begins. Arkansas welcomed 11 newcomers to the squad.
“I am real excited to have two Women’s College World Series participants, Alabama and Tennessee in Fayetteville,” Pinkerton said. “Also on the home slate besides SEC opponents Mississippi State, Auburn and LSU are Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Kansas and Big 10 power Penn State.”
New for the 2006 schedule is a doubleheader in Sherwood, Ark., bringing the Lady’Back softball team to the middle of the state for the first time.
“This is a great opportunity for us to showcase the program to the Little Rock area, and we’re excited to bring the team to Sherwood,” Pinkerton said.
Arkansas faces Louisiana-Monroe at the April 19 doubleheader.
The Lady’Backs opens the 2006 season in Miami, Fla., at the Diamond Fun and Sun Classic, Feb. 10-12. The team is slated to meet the conference champion Georgia in the first game of the tournament. Arkansas takes on North Carolina, Iowa and host Florida International before seeded-championship play, Sunday, Feb. 12.
The Lady’Backs travel to Shreveport, La., for the Centenary College Classic, Feb. 17-19. Arkansas plays Alabama-Birmingham, Centenary, Alcorn State and Nicholls State before seeded-championship action, Sunday, Feb. 19.
Arkansas opens the season at home, Feb. 24-26, when they host the Lady’Back Invitational with Drake, Penn State, North Dakota State, Missouri-Kansas City and Missouri State. The Lady’Backs also host the Country Inn and Suites Arkansas Invitational, March 3-5, taking on Jacksonville State, Northwestern State and Centenary.
“I think the first four tournament weekends will prepare us for the rigors of the SEC schedule,” Pinkerton said. “We should see where we are as a program right from the beginning.”
The Lady’Backs begin conference play against Georgia in Athens, March 11. Arkansas also travels to Mississippi, March 21-22, and Florida, March 25-26, before meeting Oklahoma State and Tulsa in the Border War in Tulsa, Okla., March 29.
Arkansas hosts Tennessee, April 1-2, and Kansas, April 5, then travel to Columbia, S.C., to take on South Carolina, April 8-9. The Lady’Backs host Missouri State, April 11, and go to Kentucky, April 14-15, for their final road trip of the season. Arkansas swept the Wildcats last season in Fayetteville.
After the Sherwood game with ULM, Arkansas ends the season with five home series. Conference foes Auburn, April 22-23, LSU, April 25-26, and Alabama, May 5-6, conclude the schedule for the Lady’Backs. Arkansas also host Oklahoma City, April 29, and Oklahoma, May 1, in non-conference action.
For more information on Arkansas softball, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.