FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After a sweep of its mid-week series at Mississippi State, the Razorback softball teams returns to Bogle Park for a weekend series with Kentucky. Arkansas (16-9, 5-0), winner of five straight, is off to its best Southeastern Conference start in program history and welcomes a Wildcat team that has won seven in a row. Game one of Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch with game two to follow at approximately 3 p.m.Arkansas continued its recent combination of strong offensive output and stingy pitching performances in its 3-0 series win over Mississippi State. The series sweep was Arkansas’ first such feat against the Bulldogs in Starkville.Three Razorbacks are hitting above .300, including team leader Whitney Cloer and her .380 batting average. Brittany Griffiths (.348) and Jessica Bachkora (.313) round out the list of top three hitters for Arkansas. Cloer and Bachkora are tied, along with Brittany Robison, for the team lead with four home runs and both have collected a team-high 18 RBI.Conference play has been good for Kayla Johnson who enters the weekend hitting .500 (9-for18) against SEC teams. The senior infielder has boosted her batting average to .276 on the season; she started conference action hitting just .175 (7-for-40). In Arkansas’ last game, Johnson was 4-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored.Miranda Dixon is 9-2 in the circle in 17 appearances this season, including a 4-0 mark in her last four starts in which she has a 0.75 ERA with 32 strikeouts and two walks. In conference play, she has won all three starts and collected two wins against Mississippi State. On the season, she has a 2.13 ERA and has struck out 73 batters in 82 innings pitched.As the game-one starter in both SEC series this season, Kim Jones is 2-0 in conference play and 5-4 overall. Her ERA has dipped to a season-low 2.97 after an eight-inning performance against Mississippi State in which she gave up two earned runs. In 66 innings pitched, Jones has 45 strikeouts and leads the Razorbacks in opponent batting average (.237). In a month’s time, since a Feb. 21 loss to Florida Atlantic, the Arkansas pitching staff has lowered the team ERA from 4.32 to 3.19.Kentucky (17-6, 4-2) swept Auburn in its last SEC series and took two from Morehead State in a mid-week doubleheader in its last outing. Junior shortstop Molly Johnson is the Wildcats leading hitter with a .419 batting average and a team-best 31 hits. Megan Yocke is hitting .318 on the season and leads the club with a .412 batting average against SEC opposition. Kentucky is hitting .269 as a team.In the circle, freshman Chanda Bell has made a team-high 13 starts and is 11-3 with a 2.27 ERA. In 86.1 innings pitched, the two-time SEC Freshman of the Week has totaled 123 strikeouts. In SEC games, Bell is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA. Amber Matousek is 6-1 this season for Kentucky and carries a 1.98 ERA.
In the all-time series between the two teams, Arkansas holds the 23-10 advantage. The Razorbacks have won eight in a row against UK and 13 of the last 15 meetings dating back to the 2004 season. Last year, the Hogs swept Kentucky and are 12-4 all-time at home against the Wildcats, including a sweep of the last two series played in Fayetteville.
The finale of the weekend series between Arkansas and Kentucky is set for a 1 p.m. start Sunday from Bogle Park. Radio broadcasts of all three games can be found on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM). Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for live stats and more information.
Download: 2009 notes.pdf