FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team begins its preparation for the 2011 season with its first official practice on Monday afternoon at Bogle Park.
Head coach Mike Larabee and staff brought in nine new faces for the 2011 season including transfer Linnea Ketcher and Amanda Geile who hit three homeruns during the Razorbacks fall competition. The newcomers will add speed to the lineup as well as depth to the Hogs short hitting game.
"We are really excited to get going this season," Larabee said. "This season, we need our players to be focused on us. We’ve got the talent and we don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to beat the top teams in the conference. We just need to put forth great effort, bring enthusiasm, play to their potential and play smart."
The Razorbacks look to a strong group of upperclassmen to lead the team. Senior pitchers Layne McGuirt and Kim Jones led the team in ERA last season and while Leslie Dixon was a key role behind the plate.
"At times, Becca Carden really played well last year and we want her to carry that over into this year," Larabee said. "Last year was really her first year where she played a considerable amount. Courtney Breault also had a big year for us last year."
Starting all but two games for the Razorbacks, Breault earned the single-season record for sac flies and brought in 32 RBI during her freshman campaign. She was named to the Southeastern Conference all-freshman team and was third on the team with a .313 average against conference opponents.
The Razorbacks open the 2011 season at the 25th Annual Louisiana Classic hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 11-13.