Razorbacks Softball Hosts Woo Pig Classic

Courtesy University of Arkansas Athletics Department

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team will continue its home schedule on Friday, March 1 and host the Woo Pig Classic. The first game of the Classic for the Razorbacks will be Friday at 3 p.m. versus the Wright State Raiders.

Arkansas (12-5) finished last weekend with a record of 4-1 at the Arkansas Invitational. The team won four games by virtue of the run rule and lost its only game, to ULM, in extra innings. The Razorbacks outscored their opponents, 44-to-10, last weekend. Head coach Mike Larabee thinks that the team learned a valuable lesson at the home tournament.

“I thought it was a really good weekend,” Larabee said. “We had that one hiccup against ULM. I think that we learned a valuable lesson about finishing games. We came back after that tough loss and run-ruled Saint Louis University. I was pleased overall.”

This weekend the Razorbacks will host the Woo Pig Classic. Arkansas will play host to Wright State, Northern Iowa and Jacksonville State. The Hogs’ first game will be against Wright State at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 1. Game two will follow versus Northern Iowa. Game three will be on Saturday, March 2 against Jacksonville State. The latter half of Saturday will feature seeded games. Arkansas will play in the 5:30 p.m. game of seeded play because the Razorbacks host the tournament. The winners of the semifinals will play in the championship game on Sunday, March 3 at 12:30 p.m. A consolation game will precede the title game.

Due to the sold out men’s basketball game versus Kentucky on Saturday, any fans attending the softball games on Saturday are asked to park in the southeast corner of Lot 56.

The Wright State Raiders have only one win in the 2013 season, starting 1-8. The Raiders’ one win this season came against Wichita State on Feb. 22. However, they did hold No. 10 UCLA to one run and lost the game to the Bruins, 1-0. The team is led in hitting by freshman Taylor Knore. The Columbus native is batting .333 and has two doubles on the season.

Northern Iowa has compiled a 5-10 record thus far is 2013. The Panthers are led in hitting by freshman, Kristin Lock. She is batting .385 in her 15 games started and has one homerun and three RBI. She has also drawn seven walks in her first season at the plate.

Jacksonville State is sitting at a 7-7 record so far this season. The Gamecocks are led in hitting by sophomore, Sara Borders. She has notched a .425 batting average with six doubles, two homeruns and 11 RBI in 14 games played. The Alexandria, Ala. native also has drawn nine walks this year. Junior, Tiffany Harbin has tallied five of the seven wins in the circle in 2013, boasting a 2.26 ERA in 52.2 innings pitched.

“We are going to face three solid teams,” Larabee said. “We are going to see some really good pitching this weekend. With our squad, we don’t dwell too much on the opponent. We just want to play Razorback softball. We want to make the routine plays defensively, get strong pitching and timely hitting. If we don’t come ready to play a full seven innings, we could get beat by any of these teams.”

Devon Wallace, the 2012 SEC freshman of the year, is again leading the team in almost all hitting categories this season, most notably in walks. After setting the UA single-season walks record last year with 53, she has tallied 19 this season and leads the SEC. Also producing in the Razorback lineup has been the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, Jayme Gee and Chloe Oprzedek. They are hitting .295 and .378 respectively. The pair has combined for six doubles, two triples and 21 RBI this season. Oprzedek has tallied a .689 slugging percentage and is second on the team with 16 runs scored.

“We didn’t have that last year,” Larabee said. “Jayme Gee and Chloe Oprzedek have been getting on base a lot. When you have Stephanie Canfield and Devon Wallace at the top of the lineup, it gives us a lot more of an opportunity to score.”

In the circle, dominating last weekend was Chelsea Cohen. She notched 26 strikeouts in her two starts. This included a 13 strikeout performance on Sunday, Feb. 24 against Saint Louis University. The senior captain is seventh in the SEC in strikeouts with 46. She also leads the team in wins with five.

“She is doing a good job,” Larabee said. “She has really matured over the last couple of years and that particular game against SLU, she had excellent command of all of her pitches. She was getting ahead in counts. She really dominated.”

After the Woo Pig Classic, the team will host its first three-game home series. The Razorbacks will battle with Utah Valley University. Game one of the series is slated for Friday, March 8 at 6 p.m. in Bogle Park.


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