FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas softball team will look for its first win against a ranked opponent when it takes on No. 9/12 Oklahoma on Wednesday at Bogle Park. First pitch for the midweek contest is set for 4 p.m. On the road last week to begin conference play, Arkansas (18-10, 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 .249 with 34 home runs while the pitching staff boasts a 2.22 ERA with 157 strikeouts. Oklahoma comes into this week with a 25-6 record and a No. 9/12 national ranking. The Sooners will travel for a game at Tulsa on Tuesday before arriving in Fayetteville. OU will begin Big 12 Conference play this weekend at home against No. 3 Missouri. Oklahoma leads the all-time series with the Razorbacks 15-2 including a 5-1 record in games played in Fayetteville. Last season, the teams split two games with Arkansas earning an 8-7 win in Norman during the regular season before Oklahoma won 21-2 in the NCAA Regional, ending the Razorbacks season. Offensively, Oklahoma is led by senior catcher Lindsey Vandever. Vandever has a .397 batting average with 29 hits, five home runs and 23 RBIs. Freshman first baseman Jessica Shults is batting .326 with a team-high nine home runs and 39 RBIs. Fellow freshman Brianna Turang is 15-17 on stolen base attempts this season. The Sooners are batting .290 as a team with 41 home runs. In the circle, freshman left-hander Keilani Ricketts leads the team with a 15-5 record in 16 starts with a 1.39 team. She has thrown 111 innings this season, the most on the team by a large margin. Ricketts has thrown 12 complete games including five shutouts while recording 135 strikeouts. Sophomore right-hander Kristen Allen has a 1.58 ERA with a 5-0 record in seven starts. The Oklahoma pitching staff has a team ERA of 1.53.Wednesday’s game will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, which will also carry live stats for the game against Oklahoma.Rankings are based on the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA collegiate softball polls released Tuesday.
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