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Tough stretch continues at No. 6 Crimson Tide

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Tough stretch continues at No. 6 Crimson Tide

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback softball team will head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a weekend series with No. 6 Alabama, the first of three consecutive Southeastern Conference series against a top-10 opponent. Arkansas (25-17, 10-8) enters the weekend in third place in the SEC Western Division, while Alabama (35-8, 13-6) holds the top spot with three weeks to play in the regular season. Saturday’s doubleheader is set for a 2 p.m.first pitch, while the series finale Sunday will be televised by Fox Sports South at 1 p.m.Arkansas will look to reverse its fortunes in the all-time series which has been dominated in recent years by the Crimson Tide. Alabama has won 19 straight and leads the overall series, 34-7. The Razorbacks’ last win came during the 2002 season, a 2-0 victory in game one of a doubleheader played in Fayetteville. In 2000, Arkansas picked up an 11-6 win for its only win against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.Jessica Bachkora brings a seven-game hitting streak into the series, the longest of any Razorback this season. She is one of four Arkansas hitters with a .300 or better batting average. Whitney Cloer leads that group, hitting at a .351 clip. The senior catcher has a career-high eight home runs and 33 RBI, and is second in the SEC with 13 doubles this season.With a pair of runs scored in Arkansas’ last game, a 6-2 win over Centenary, Kayla Johnson moved into first place on the program’s all-time runs list. During her career in Fayetteville, Johnson has scored 121 runs. She passed Dana Gulick (1997-2000), who was a member of the inaugural Arkansas softball team, for the top stop. Brittany Griffiths continues to impress during her freshman season with a .304 batting average, good for third on the team.Miranda Dixon has picked up her production at the plate and is now tied with Cloer for the team lead with 33 RBI. Since falling to a season-low .175 batting average March 28, Dixon has had at least one hit in 10 of Arkansas’ last 12 games to pull her average up to .219. In the circle, she leads the club with a 16-6 record and 3.19 ERA. In her last outing, she pitched a two-hit complete game against Centenary. Dixon has struck out 114 batters in 147 innings pitched this season.As a staff, the Razorbacks possess a 3.63 team ERA with 22 complete games. Nine of those belong to Kim Jones, the Razorbacks’ usual go-to pitcher in game one of a series. Jones is 7-8 this season with a 3.44 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 22 appearances and a career-high 108 innings pitched.The Crimson Tide enter the weekend with an 18-1 mark at with its lone defeat coming March 7 to Washington. In its last outing, Alabama swept an April 14 doubleheader with Kentucky.As a team, Alabama carries a .320 batting average with the help of nine players hitting .300 or better. That group is led by Brittany Rogers who leads the Crimson Tide with a .419 batting average and is second in the SEC with 36 stolen bases. Whitney Larsen has a team high eight home runs, while dual-threat Charlotte Morgan leads Alabama with 39 RBI. Kelly Montalvo is hitting .354 and slugging .677.Morgan is part of a pitching staff that has a collective 1.89 ERA. Kelsi Dunne leads the staff with an 18-2 record and 1.41 ERA. In 133.2 innings pitched, she has struck out 160 batters and holding opponents to a .184 batting average. Morgan is 10-6 on the season in 21 appearances in 96.2 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .217 against the Crimson Tide.Overall, the Razorbacks are in sixth place in the SEC with the top eight teams advancing to the 2009 SEC Tournament, held May 7-9 at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. This weekend’s games will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, which will also carry live stats for the Alabama series.

Download: 2009 notes.pdf



Sports Category : Softball