Fall Softball Underway at Bogle Park
FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team will be back on the diamond on Wednesday morning as the Razorbacks begin fall practices at Bogle Park.
Arkansas softball looks ahead to a full fall schedule which includes three contests at Bogle Park: Oct. 17 vs Northeastern State, Oct. 30 vs Crowder College and Nov. 7 vs Butler Community College.
Fifth year head softball coach Courtney Deifel returns nearly the entire roster from the 2019 NCAA regional team, including NFCA All-American Autumn Storms and First Team All-SEC selection, Hannah McEwen.
Storms returns for her final season in the cardinal and white after an all-star junior campaign. She’ll be joined on the mound by senior teammate Lauren Graves, junior Mary Haff and incoming freshmen Jenna Bloom and Rylin Hedgecock. Bloom comes to Fayetteville ranked No. 43 in the final FloSoftball Hot 100 while Hedgecock boasts a 1.1 ERA as a junior and senior and stands as the Lowndes High School strikeout record holder.
The other half of the battery will be led by junior Kayla Green and sophomore Taylor Greene. Green has started in 113 of 116 games over the course of her first two years at Arkansas and in 2019 helped the Hogs in giving up the least number of stolen bases in the SEC (11).
Hog fans may seem some familiar faces out in the dirt this fall, as Valerie Ventura and Larissa Cesena will be eligible to play after redshirting their freshman seasons in 2019. Also giddy to suit up is Missouri transfer Braxton Burnside. Burnside played for the Tigers in 2017 and 2018, where she collected multiple national honors including recognition as a top-25 finalist for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year. Downey, Calif. native, freshman Paloma Usquiano will also add some support to the Arkansas infield, after she helped lead Orange Lutheran High School to a 26-5 record last season.
Joining the Razorbacks in the dug out in 2020 is new volunteer assistant Annie Smith and graduate assistant Taylor McQuillin. Smith comes to Fayetteville after stints at Auburn, LSU, Georgia Southern, Mississippi State and Missouri, having coached eight All-Americans, 56 All-Conference selections and 41 All-Region honorees. McQuillin joins the Razorback staff after an impressive career at Arizona, compiling four, award-filled years as a part of the Wildcat pitching staff. In 2019, McQuillin earned her first career All-America honor after leading the Wildcats to its highest final ranking since 2010 following their return to the Women’s College World Series.
Deifel and her staff will look to lead Arkansas to its fourth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance after compiling a 38-20 record in 2019. The Razorbacks batted .288 as a team, second best in program history and recorded 73 doubles, third best in Arkansas history and the most since 2010.
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