FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Before taking off for its final road Southeastern Conference series of the season, the Arkansas softball team will play host to Missouri State Wednesday evening at Bogle Park. The midweek contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start. Since the start of SEC play, the Razorbacks haven’t lost to a non-conference opponent, including a sweep of the Border War and an upset of then-No. 11 Oklahoma.Missouri State leads the all-time series between the two teams, 16-14. After losing the first nine games to the Bears, Arkansas has won 14 of the next 21 meetings, including seven of the last nine. Last season, the two teams split a doubleheader played in Springfield, Mo. The Razorbacks hold the 10-3 advantage in games played in Fayetteville.The Razorbacks sit in third place in the SEC Western Division with two weeks remaining in the regular season, one game behind second-place LSU. Arkansas currently occupies the sixth-seed slot for the 2009 SEC Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., played May 7-9. In the latest NCAA RPI release, Arkansas is ranked 27th. All 11 teams in the SEC are positioned in the RPI top 50.Whitney Cloer leads Arkansas with a .350 batting average and 13 doubles, which is tied for the second-most in the SEC. The senior catcher is second on the club with eight home runs and tied for the team lead with 33 RBI. Cloer is tied for eighth in the conference with 87 total bases and carries a .635 slugging percentage.
Brittany Griffiths and Jessica Bachkora have the Razorbacks’ second- and third-highest batting averages this season, respectively. Griffiths is hitting .296 and had Arkansas’ lone RBI against No. 6 Alabama last weekend, while Bachkora has a .291 batting average with 28 runs scored and 26 RBI from the top spot in the Razorback lineup. She is also tied for eighth in the SEC with 11 doubles.
On the season, the Razorbacks have clubbed 44 home runs, the second-most in program history behind last season’s total of 65. Miranda Dixon leads the team with nine home runs, which is tied for the eighth-most hit by an SEC player this season. Eight of Dixon’s homers have been hit in the last month of play. She is tied with Cloer for the team lead with 33 RBI.
In the circle, Dixon is 16-8 with a 3.67 ERA in 32 appearances, including a team-high 23 starts. She has struck out 117 batters and walked 49 in 154.2 innings pitched this season. Dixon leads the SEC with four saves. Kim Jones is Arkansas’ No. 2 starter and holds a 7-9 mark with a 3.60 ERA in 112.2 innings pitched.
Missouri State enters the game with a 17-18 overall record and a 7-7 tally in the Missouri Valley Conference. Offensively, the Bears are hitting .249 as a team, led by Jessie Smith. The senior shortstop is hitting .406 this season with five home runs, 10 doubles, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases, all team-leading numbers. Jenna Schwark has a .311 batting average for the Bears.
Lauren McGinley leads Missouri State in victories with a 9-8 record and has a 2.95 ERA over 97.1 innings of work. In the same number of innings, Lauren Spark is 4-6 and carries a 1.87 ERA with 55 strikeouts on the season. Natalie Rose has 55 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched. She is 4-4 with a 3.89 ERA.
After Wednesday’s game with the Bears, Arkansas will travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on No. 1 Florida in a three-game weekend series. The Arkansas-Missouri State contest will be featured in an Internet-only broadcast on ArkansasRazorback.com, which will also carry live stats.
Download: 2009 notes.pdf