FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas softball team will open its home Southeastern Conference schedule Saturday when it faces Mississippi State in a three-game weekend series at Bogle Park.
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. both days.
“Mississippi State is very well coached,” Arkansas coach Mike Larabee said. “Jay Miller, he is our national team coach, and he does an incredible job. They have one of the most exciting players in Chelsea Bramlett, who has unbelievable speed. Keeping her of the bases is going to be a key to our success. As she goes, Mississippi State goes. It is going to be a great series between two teams who are pretty evenly matched.”
On the road last week to begin conference play, Arkansas (18-11, 3-2 SEC) swept a doubleheader against South Carolina behind the bat of center fielder Jessica Bachkora and strong pitching. In Lexington, the Razorbacks fell twice to open the series before capturing a 9-8 victory in the series final behind two home runs from senior third baseman Sandra Smith.
As a team this season, Arkansas is batting .247 with 34 home runs while the pitching staff boasts a 2.32 ERA with 164 strikeouts.
Mississippi State (19-13, 2-4 SEC) leads the all-time series between the two teams 20-26 including a 10-9 record in games played in Fayetteville. Last season, the Razorbacks earned a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs in Starkville behind two wins from pitcher Miranda Dixon. In the teams’ last meeting in Fayetteville, MSU won the series 2-1 and were ranked among the top 25 nationally.
Offensively, Mississippi State is led by Bramlett, who is batting .514 with 55 hits and 15 RBIs. The Cordova, Tenn., native is also 40-of-40 on stolen bases attempts this season. Sophomore outfielder Ka’ili Smith is next batting .400 with 38 hits and a team-high eight home runs and 36 RBIs. She has a slugging percentage of .747. The Bulldogs are batting .316 as a team with 23 home runs.
In the circle, freshman left-hander Kylie Vry has a 3.83 ERA through 71.1 IP this season. Vry has a record of 6-4 in 21 appearances with 15 starts. She has struck out 45. Sophomore right-hander Misty Flesher posts an ERA of 4.12 with a record of 7-4 in 68 innings pitch. Freshman left-hander Stephanie Becker also has two three wins on the season in 53 innings.
The Razorbacks have been tough to beat at Bogle Park this season, boasting a 7-3 record on their home field this season.
This weekend’s games will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, which will also carry live stats for the Mississippi State series.
Download: 3.27 Mississippi State.pdf