NORMAN, Okla. – In recognition of their standout seasons, Nicole Schroeder and Autumn Storms head into Friday’s NCAA opener as all-region performers as announced Thursday morning by the NFCA. Schroeder earned a spot on the All-South Region Second Team while Storms was named to the All-South Region Third Team. Selected by the region’s head coaches, both are now eligible to be named to the 2017 NFCA Division I All-America teams.
Arkansas now has an all-region selection in nine of the past 10 seasons including six in a row. Schroeder and Storms are the 10th and 11th NFCA All-Region performers in program history, and the second and third for head coach Courtney Deifel.
Schroeder enters the team’s NCAA opener with a career-high 16 home runs, a figure that leads the SEC and ranks her 19th in the NCAA. She also leads the team and is sixth in the SEC with 48 RBI, just two shy of tying the program’s single-season mark. In a senior campaign highlighted by an offensive outburst, Schroeder is posting career highs in batting average (.333), runs scored (30), hits (47), home runs (16), RBI (48), walks (33), on-base percentage (.469) and slugging percentage (.766).
In her first season at Arkansas, Storms became the third freshman in program history to reach 15 wins, and the first since 2001. Overall, she has posted a 16-15 record with a 2.14 ERA in a team-leading 36 appearances and 166.2 innings of work in which she has only walked 33 hitters. Storms has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 24 of 31 starts and has registered wins over six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament including top-15 victories against Tennessee and Texas A&M.
“I’m just really proud of this team more than anything,” Deifel said during the pre-NCAA press conference. “They were ready to take that next step from last year to this year and they absolutely did. They’re a team that is just a really special group. I’m thrilled they get to experience the postseason and I’m excited to see them compete this weekend.”
For the sixth time in seven NCAA Tournament appearances, Arkansas will be part of the Norman Regional with its opener against Tulsa scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. (CT) start on the SEC Network. Friday’s game is the third meeting this season with each winning one in the regular season. The regional so includes North Dakota State and defending national champion and No. 10 national seed Oklahoma.
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