|Arkansas vs. Alabama|
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas softball team wraps up its regular season at home this weekend, hosting No. 4 Alabama May 1-3 at Bogle Park. The games on Friday and Sunday will be available on SEC Network+, while Saturday’s 8 p.m. game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Five Arkansas seniors – Sierra Bronkey, Kala Crisp, Kasey Fagan, Megan Pearson, and Devon Wallace – will be making their final appearances in a Razorback uniform this weekend. Senior Day ceremonies are set to be held prior to Sunday’s series finale at approximately 1:40 p.m.
Arkansas (16-34, 1-20 SEC) vs. No. 4 Alabama (38-11, 14-7 SEC)
Friday, May 1 | 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 2 | 8 p.m.
ESPNU (Melissa Lee, Jennie Ritter)
Sunday, May 3 | 2 p.m.
ROUNDING THE BASES
• Arkansas split its midweek doubleheader against Southeast Missouri State April 29. The Razorbacks routed the Redhawks 13-5 in five innings in game one and then dropped an eight-inning pitcher’s duel in game two, 4-3. The 13 runs scored in game one set a new season-best while 14 hits tied Arkansas’ season high. Five different Razorbacks recorded multi-hit games during the game one victory (Jessica Harrison, Kasey Fagan, Devon Wallace, Parker Pocklington, Kate James) while seven of nine starters tallied at least one base hit.
• Sophomore Jessica Harrison batted 4-for-5 (.800) in the Wednesday doubleheader with a total of five RBIs and four runs scored. Harrison’s three hits, three runs, and three RBIs in game one all set or tied season-highs.
• Senior Devon Wallace recorded her 200th career hit April 29, becoming just the fourth Razorback in history to have 200 or more hits as well as 30 or more doubles.
• The Razorbacks played their seventh extra innings game this season against Southeast Missouri (April 29), and are 3-4 in games lasting longer than seven innings.
• Arkansas has hit two or more home runs in a game seven times this season, posting a 3-4 mark when doing so.
• Senior Devon Wallace, adding to her record-breaking Arkansas resume, became the first Razorback ever to be selected in the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft. Wallace was taken in the fourth round, No. 20 overall, by the Pennsylvania Rebellion in the 2015 Draft Wednesday, April 1, at the CMA Theater in Nashville, Tenn.
Five seniors will be making their final appearance at Bogle Park in a Razorback uniform this weekend. Sierra Bronkey (Edmond, Okla.) has been in Arkansas’ program for the past five years and is a career .254 batter. With just four more hits, she will tally her 100th hit as a Razorbacks. Kala Crisp (Farmington, Ark.) is rounding out her second year in the program after transferring to Fayetteville following two years at Crowder College. Crisp recorded her first career at-bat as a Razorback, flying out to centerfield while pinch hitting in game one of a doubleheader against Southeast Missouri (April 29). Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) has been a two-year starter for Arkansas after transferring from Florida. Her career .316 batting average ranks fourth in program history for all-time average. Megan Pearson (Centerville, Ohio) has been a four-year player with Arkansas. Pearson has appeared in 66 games in her career and her work off the field has also been noteworthy, being named to the 2014 SEC Community Service Team and the female recipient of Arkansas’ 2015 Burlsworth Award. Devon Wallace (Double Oak, Texas) has been a four-year starter for the Razorbacks and is on pace to set eight career records for Arkansas softball.
HARRISON HEATS UP
Sophomore Jessica Harrison has started to find her rhythm at the plate in the final portion of the season. Harrison enjoyed a solid day at the dish against SE Missouri (April 29) batting .800 with five RBIs total over the day’s doubleheader. Over the course of the team’s last five games overall, Harrison is batting a sweltering .636 to go along with a 1.364 slugging percentage while hitting two home runs and totaling eight RBIs. In Arkansas’ most recent weekend series (Auburn, April 24-26), Harrison sent two over the fence against Auburn (April 24-26) while batting .500 with three RBIs. In the team’s last five SEC games, the Magnolia, Texas, native is slugging 1.222 with five hits. Harrison has hit safely in six consecutive games while also tallying an RBI in five straight contests.
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL
Nearly half of Arkansas’ victories this season have come after Arkansas trailed in the game. In seven of their 16 wins, the Razorbacks rallied from a deficit, including erasing a three-run margin twice (Feb. 28 at Southeastern Louisiana, April 11 at South Carolina).
Arkansas was the only team in the SEC to open up conference play on the road against two top-10 opponents. The Razorbacks opened on the road at then-No. 5/5 LSU before playing at then-No. 8/8 Georgia. Additionally, Arkansas has faced eight teams inside the current RPI top 25, including three out of conference (LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas, UCF). According to NCAA.com for games played through April 19, Arkansas’ strength of schedule ranks 10th.
The Razorbacks own an 11-3 (.786) mark when scoring at least six runs. On the defensive side, Arkansas is 14-7 (.667) when limiting opponents to five runs or less.
KEEP THE RALLY GOING
59 of Arkansas’ 164 (.360) RBIs this season have come with two outs. Devon Wallace leads the way, accounting for 11 of those RBIs while Kasey Fagan has tallied seven. Among players with 10 or more two-out at-bats, five have averages greater than .270 including Parker Pocklington (.286), Fagan (.303), Shelby Hiers (.300), Jessie Mullen (.300), and Wallace (.415).
Senior Devon Wallace led off the game at Auburn April 26 with a home run to centerfield, the second time this season she has started off the game with a homer (March 12 at Missouri State). For Wallace, it was her third home run overall coming in the first inning thi season (April 5 vs. Mississippi State).
LATE GAME AT-BATS
Against Mississippi State (April 6), Rachel Box and Jessie Mullen both connected for pinch-hit home runs, the first pinch-hit homers of the season for Arkansas. Box has become accustomed to stepping to the plate in late innings, second on the team with 14 pinch-hit plate appearances. She is batting .417 in those situations, including two extra base hits. Sierra Bronkey leads the team with 17 pinch hit appearances.
ABLE TO RESPOND
One of Coach Larabee’s preaching points to his team is being able to respond with runs after the opposing team scores. Arkansas has shown capable of doing just that, responding with at least one run in their next at-bat .342 percent of the time following the adversary scoring.
WALLACE REWRITES RECORD BOOK
Senior Devon Wallace has left her imprint all over the Arkansas softball record book. In the series against Texas (3/14-16), she set new program records for career home runs (47) and runs scored (183). The Double Oak, Texas, native additionally is the career leader in walks (232) and intentional walks (12). Wallace is currently on pace to be the career leader in a number of other categories as she currently ranks first for: highest batting average (.360), highest slugging percentage (.678), and highest on-base percentage (.559). Her 200 career hits is sixth, trailing leader Jessica Bachkora (2007-10) who has 227.
CANFIELD SWINGS AWAY
Junior Stephanie Canfield, a fixture near the top of the lineup, has proven to be a triple-threat from the left side of the dish. With 10 career triples, the St. Joseph, Ill., native is tied for second all-time in school history, trailing leader Dayna Huckabee who has 12. Canfield has four triples this year alone, ranking eighth in the SEC. She has 10 multi-hit games to go along with a team-high five multi-RBI games. While Wallace holds many school records, Canfield is also posting near record lines. Consider the numbers and rankings for Canfield’s career statistics: second in batting average (.350), fourth in on-base percentage (.398), and is sixth in slugging percentage (.474).
Arkansas has played in seven extra innings games this season – including four at home – and post a 3-4 record. Kasey Fagan led Arkansas to a pair of walk-off wins Feb. 27, defeating Saint Louis and UT-Martin in the bottom of the eighth inning of both games. Shelby Hiers provided the heroics for the third extra innings win, connecting for a solo home run in the top of the eighth at South Carolina (April 11) and providing Arkansas with the go-ahead run.