FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas head softball coach Mike Larabee released the schedule for the 2013 season Monday. The season will kick off in early February with the Utah Tournament, held in St. George, Utah from Feb. 8-10. The Razorbacks will face Utah, Weber State, Southern Utah, Colorado State and Loyola Marymount to begin the 2013 slate. They then travel to Jackson, Miss. for a doubleheader at Jackson State on Feb. 13 before heading to Tallahassee, Fla. for a tournament at Florida State. In Florida the Razorbacks will face Florida State, Tulsa and Southeast Louisiana from Feb. 15-17. The Hogs return home for their final two tournaments, starting with the Arkansas Invitational from Feb. 22-24. In the invitational Arkansas will see Louisiana-Monroe, St. Louis and Murray State. The team then concludes its tournament schedule with the Woo Pig Classic from March 1-3. The Classic will feature competition from Northern Iowa, Wright State and Jacksonville State. Coach Larabee is looking forward to the early season tournaments.
“This is going to prepare us for our SEC schedule,” Larabee said. “The competition will be good for our young team early. We feel like we want to win a lot of games before the SEC starts.”
Two early non-conference opponents will travel to Fayetteville before the Hogs open SEC play. Arkansas will play four games in five days with the first three against Utah Valley State from March 8-10 and Stephen F. Austin for one game on March 12.
Arkansas will open SEC play at Texas A&M from March 15-17. After the visit in College Station the Hogs head to Savannah, Ga. for two games with Savannah State on March 19 and 20. The road trip will continue, as will SEC play, when the team visits Gainesville, Fla. for a weekend trio of games from March 22-24.
The non-conference schedule continues with a mid-week battle in Fayetteville versus UMKC on March 27 and then Bogle Park will host its first SEC series of the year with Georgia. The Razorbacks will play one game on March 29 and a doubleheader on March 30 with Bulldogs before another home doubleheader with Mississippi Valley State on April 2.
Arkansas continues its home stand with another SEC series, hosting LSU from April 5-7 before concluding the home non-conference schedule versus Missouri State on April 10. The Hogs then hit the road for a series with new SEC opponent Missouri from April 12-14. The team returns home to host Kentucky from April 19-21 before another road trip, this time to Tennessee for a series against the Volunteers from April 26-28. The Razorbacks conclude their home schedule from May 3-5, hosting Auburn in a weekend series. Coach Larabee described the SEC as the best conference in the nation this season.
“From top to bottom, it is the best softball conference in the nation,” Larabee said. “No matter who you play, it’s never easy. We have a difficult schedule ahead of us but we are excited to play these top 20 teams.”
After the regular season is finished Arkansas will hope to reach the SEC tournament, taking place in Lexington, Ky. from May 8-11. The top ten teams will compete for the conference crown and an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Alabama won the tournament last season in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after entering as the No. 1 seed.
“We not only want to make the tournament, we want to win it.” Larabee said. “That is our goal as a program. We had some great wins last year and we want to build on that.”
The Hogs will vie for their 2nd straight berth into the NCAA Tournament, which will take place May 17-June 5 this year. Regionals will be hosted at campus sites May 17-19, followed by NCAA Super Regionals, also at campus sites, May 23-26. The 2013 WCWS will take place in Oklahoma City, May 28-June 5. Arkansas finished last season in the California regional final, falling to No. 1 California.
“Our players are believing,” Larabee said. “I feel as if, right now, there is not another program in the country that is outworking us.”
For more information regarding Razorback softball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
For a complete look at the Razorback softball schedule click here For more information about Razorback softball — ArkansasRazorbacks.com || On Twitter @RazorbackSB || Facebook.com/RazorbackSB —