FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team returns to Southeastern Conference play this weekend when it welcomes No. 5/5 Alabama for a three-game series at Bogle Park.
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday. First pitch for the series finale is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Cox Sports Television (CST) will televise Game One of this weekend’s series between Arkansas and Alabama. First pitch of the contest is set for Saturday at 1:06 p.m. from Bogle Park. The game will feature play-by-play by Blair Cartwright and color analysis by Nicki Collen. Check your local listings for channel availability.
Arkansas (25-21, 8-11 SEC) is coming off a midweek victory over Memphis in Sherwood, Ark. Razorback junior Layne McGuirt limited the Tigers to one run on three hits in her sixth complete game of the season. McGuirt allowed only four Memphis hitters to reach base, three on hits and one on a hit-by-pitch.
Razorback junior Becca Carden provided the offense as her pinch-hit, three-run triple in the fourth put the Razorbacks up 5-0, on their way to a 6-1 win.
Alabama comes into the weekend with a 36-9 overall record and a No. 5/5 ranking in the ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA collegiate softball polls released Tuesday. The Crimson Tide sit in first place in the SEC Western Division with a 15-4 mark in conference play.
"We are in that stretch right now that started with Georiga and continued with Tennessee, Florida, LSU and Alabama; that is a tough stretch with programs that have all been very strong historically," Arkansas coach Mike Larabee said. "Alabama was one of the top four teams in the country last year. They have solid pitching and swing the bats very well. Defensively, they have struggled a little bit this year, but we definitely have our work cut out for us and we are going to have to be playing well to beat them this weekend."
Alabama and Arkansas have met 45 times with Alabama holding a 38-7 advantage. The two teams last met at the SEC Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., where the Crimson Tide earned an 8-0 victory in five innings. In Tuscaloosa last season, Alabama swept Arkansas and out-scored the Hogs 25-2 over the three-game series.
Offensively, the Crimson Tide are led by second baseman Kayla Braud. The freshman has started all 45 games this season and has a .485 batting average with 63 hits, 52 runs scored and 25 RBIs. Senior Charlotte Morgan is next with a .357 average while she leads the team with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs. Alabama ranks third in the conference with a .309 team batting average and fourth with 74 home runs.
In the circle, junior right-hander Kelsi Dunne leads the pitching staff with a 2.14 ERA in 140.2 innings pitched. Dunne has a record of 20-4 with 233 strikeouts. Freshman Lauren Sewell holds a team best 2.09 ERA and an 8-1 mark with 69 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched. As a staff, Alabama has a 2.60 ERA with 285 strikeouts.This weekend’s games will also be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, which will also carry live stats for the Alabama series.
Download: 4-24 Alabama.pdf