Dixon McLemore earn SEC honors
FAYETTEVILLE – Senior designated player Miranda Dixon and freshman pitcher Hope McLemore have been recognized by the Southeastern Conference as the SEC Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively, the league office announced on Monday.
The honor is the fourth conference honor for Dixon during her Razorback career and the first for McLemore. Arkansas won two of three games in a weekend series at No. 8/11 Georgia, the first series win against the Bulldogs since 2001.
"It was a really great weekend for the team and the program as a whole," Arkansas coach Mike Larabee said. "I really loved the energy and the fight in our team. It is great to see Hope having so much success as a freshman. She has worked her way into the No. 1 spot for us. She gave up some hits in her win on Friday but kept fighting and gave us the chance to win. Miranda’s home run in the second game was key because it gave us some breathing room and took the wind out of Georgia’s sails. It was a big momentum boost for us."
Dixon led the Razorbacks in five offensive categories during the three-game series with the Bulldogs. Dixon finished with a .444 average, four hits, one home run, four RBIs, seven total bases, a .778 slugging percentage and a .545 on-base percentage. In the Razorbacks 3-2 extra inning win to open the series, Dixon combined with senior Sandra Smith to go 4-for-7 in the game with two RBIs. With Arkansas in front 7-5 in the sixth inning of the second game on Friday, Dixon’s three-run home run extended the Razorback lead to 10-5 and allowed more breathing room for the pitching staff.
Overall, Dixon is batting .301 this season with 31 hits, five doubles, 10 home runs and 29 RBIs.
McLemore led the Razorbacks to their first win over a ranked opponent this season and their first win over Georgia since 2006 with an eight-inning, complete-game performance to open the series Friday night. McLemore kept the Bulldog hitters off balance throughout the game and worked around 11 hits to surrender only two runs in eight innings. The freshman from Oklahoma walked only two and struck out 10. Despite taking the loss in Saturday’s finale, McLemore finished the weekend with a 2.50 ERA and an 18:2 strikeout to walk ratio. She also eclipsed the 100 strikeout (109) and 100 inningspitched (108.1) marks in 24 appearances this season.
Arkansas (24-13, 8-3 SEC) opened conference play with an 8-2 record this season, a mark that represents the best start to SEC play in school history. The Razorbacks are idle this week but return to action with a three-game weekend series at Bogle Park against No. 9/6 Florida. The series begins Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CDT.
Rankings are based on the ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA collegiate softball poll released Tuesday.