FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas softball team will play its first of three scheduled fall doubleheaders Saturday when its hosts Lake Land College at Bogle Park. Game one of the twin bill is set for a 4 p.m. first pitch. It will be the Razorbacks first in-game competition under new head coach Mike Larabee.
Arkansas returns 13 letterwinners from last season’s team that advanced to the NCAA Regional round in Norman, Okla. The returning class includes Miranda Dixon, Arkansas’ career home run leader and a two-time Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) all-region performer, and Brittany Griffiths, who last season became the third player in program history to be named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team.Led by Dixon, the 2009-10 senior class for Arkansas also includes Jessica Bachkora, Teighynne Hulsey, Brittany Robison, Sandra Smith and Jessica Waddle. As the Razorbacks’ leadoff hitter the past three seasons, Bachkora is poised to become the program’s all-time runs scored leader. She currently sits in third place on the list, just 20 behind the top spot. Bachkora averaged just under 35 runs scored per season during her first three years at Arkansas.The Razorbacks will also call upon its young talent this season led by sophomores Griffiths and Tori Mort. Griffiths finished the 2009 season as the fourth-leading hitter on the team, while starting every game of her freshman season at shortstop. Mort started all but one game in left field and led the team with nine sacrifice hits.
Arkansas’ incoming class of freshman of seven includes Hope McLemore (Ringling, Okla.); Stephanie Brewer (Broken Arrow, Okla.); Amanda Summerford (Fayetteville, Ark.); Courtney Breault (Roseville, Calif.); Morgan Clark (Farmington, Ark.); Brea Van de Pol (Ankeny, Iowa); and Chelsea Cohen (Sparks, Nev.).
Entering his first season at the helm of the Razorback softball team, Larabee spent the previous five seasons as the head coach of the Wright State program. During his tenure, the Raiders were the Horizon League Tournament champions in 2007 and 2008 to earn back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. A two-time member of the USA Women’s National Team Coaching Pool, Larabee spent two weeks this past summer in Venezuela helping lead the Pan American Qualifier Team to gold and a spot in the 2011 Pan American Games.
After this weekend’s games with Lake Land, the Razorbacks will return to the field Sept. 26 for a doubleheader against Tulsa. Arkansas will close out its fall ball schedule Oct. 3 with a two-game set against Seminole College. For more information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.