FAYETTEVILLE— The Arkansas softball team begins its 2010 season Friday through Sunday at the Metrodome Classic inMinneapolisunder the direction of first-yearhead coach MikeLarabee.
“I can’t tell you how ready we are,” Larabee said. “We have been practicing since early September and at it again since January 11. As a coaching staff and a team, we are just excited to get out there and play a different uniform and have our players hit against different pitchers. We are ready to compete and see where we are at.”
TheRazorbackswill play Western Illinois in their season opener, with first pitch scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m., followed by a 7 p.m. matchup with Iowa.All games will be played at the Metrodome, the home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and former home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins.
“This tournament is going to be a great opener,” Larabee said. “I believe if we come and bring our ‘A’ game, we are going to be able to compete, but if we don’t, we can get beat by any of these teams. It is going to be great competition.”
On the second day of the tournament, Arkansas will play Drake at 9 a.m. and hostMinnesotaat 1 p.m. The Razorbacks will close play Sunday with a 9 a.m. game against Iowa State.
Arkansaswill look to mirror last season’s strong start in which the team completed play at the Southern Miss Invitational with a 3-1 record.The Razorbacksare 5-8 all-time in season openers, including a 5-3 victory over Southern Mississippi in last year’s first game.
Western Illinois, 34-19 last season, is 2-2 all-time against Arkansas, whileIowa, which went 29-34 last season, holds a 3-1 advantage over the Razorbacks.
Arkansas leads the all-time series against Drake 4-2 after splitting the teams’ two meetings last season. The Bulldogs picked up a 6-5 victory over the Razorbacks at last year’s Metrodome Classic, while the Hogs earned a 6-3 win against Drake at theOklahoma State Mizuno Classicin Stillwater, Okla.
TheRazorbacks’ last meeting with Minnesota also came a year ago at the Metrodome Classic. Arkansas edged out a 3-2 victory and holds a 2-1 all-time series lead. Sunday’s game will be the first meeting between Arkansas and Iowa State. The Cyclones were 26-29 last season.
“I think we have made some great strides in all areas of the game,” Larabee said. “We have really stressed pitching and defense. That has to be a constant along with timely hitting. I hope we can go out and play at the level we are capable of playing.”
The Metrodome Classic is the first of five non-conference tournaments for Arkansas.
Download: Metrodome Classic.pdf