FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas softball team will continue its home schedule on Friday, March 8 and host the Utah Valley University Wolverines. Game one of the three-game series is slated for Friday at 6 p.m.
Arkansas (16-6) finished last weekend with a record of 4-1, winning the Woo Pig Classic. Arkansas defeated Wright State, Northern Iowa (twice) and Jacksonville State. The team dropped its only game of the weekend to Jacksonville State on Saturday, 5-4. The Hogs outscored their opponents 43-11 over the weekend.
"I love the way we are swinging the bats," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Our pitching is keeping us in games; we just need to be more consistent on defense. We need to do a better job of taking care of the softball and making the routine play."
This weekend the Razorbacks will play host to Utah Valley University for a three-game series. The action begins on Friday evening with a 6 p.m. first pitch. Game two of the series will be Saturday at 2 p.m. and the finale will be Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m. CT.
The Utah Valley University Wolverines are 5-6 through 11 games this season. They have notched quality wins over Oklahoma State and San Jose State this year. The team also battled No. 20 Hawaii to a 3-1 loss as well as losing to Utah in extra innings on Tuesday. The Wolverines are led in hitting by junior, Amanda Robinson, who is hitting .400 through 11 games. Also hitting well is Morgan Summers, she has compiled a .385 batting average and leads the team in triples with two. The green and white are especially dangerous in the circle with Tiffany Mills. She has four of the five wins for UVU, while notching a 2.79 ERA. The senior has 36 strikeouts in 47 innings.
"They have played excellent competition," Larabee said. "They have some good wins against Oklahoma State and San Jose State and they battled Hawaii. Hawaii is ranked and they can swing the bats well. This will be a challenge this weekend."
Reigning SEC freshman of the year Devon Wallace was named the SEC Player of the Week for her performance in the Woo Pig Classic. She went 7-for-11 (.636) in five games over the weekend leading Arkansas to the Woo Pig Classic title. She had three homeruns, three doubles and seven RBI despite being walked eight times. The Southeastern Conference's leader in on base percentage (.659) also had six runs scored and hit the go-ahead homerun in the top of the seventh inning on Sunday to give the Razorbacks a 3-2 win over Jacksonville State. With eight walks this weekend, Wallace improved her walk total to an SEC-leading 27. On defense, Wallace played leftfield and first base and did not commit an error all weekend. This was the first SEC player of the week for Arkansas since Miranda Dixon garnered the award in 2008.
"She had a phenomenal weekend," Larabee said. "She leads the SEC in walks and is top-five in a lot of other categories. She is one of the premier hitters in college softball right now. I wouldn't trade her for anybody, she represents our program well, on and off the field."
Another milestone was reached last weekend as Arkansas head coach Mike Larabee won his 200th game of his career on Sunday. This was his 86th win at the University of Arkansas. The team had to come from behind to defeat Jacksonville State as Wallace hit a go-ahead homerun in the seventh inning for the Razorbacks.
"I have never won a game," Larabee said. "Players win the games. I don't run, hit, steal bases or throw. I have had some great players that have allowed me to accumulate those wins."
Next up, the homestand continues with one game against Stephen F. Austin. The game is slated for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at Bogle Park. After the game against SFA, Arkansas will hit the road for an eight-game swing against Texas A&M, Savannah State and Florida.