Razorbacks open NCAA play with Tulsa

NORMAN, Okla. – For the second consecutive season, the Razorback softball team will face Tulsa in their first NCAA Tournament game when play in the Norman (Okla.) Regional begins Friday. First pitch of the contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. from Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex. The winner will advance to a Saturday matchup with the winner of the Oklahoma-North Dakota State game.Arkansas is the region’s No. 2 seed after completing the 2009 regular season with a 27-27 record, including a 10-16 mark in Southeastern Conference play. The Razorbacks are making their fourth appearances at an NCAA Regional, all of which have been played out in Norman.During the season, the Hogs have been led at the plate by Whitney Cloer and her .331 batting average. The senior catcher has totaled a career-high eight home runs and 35 RBI. Cloer last hit a home run April 1 during Arkansas’ 9-5 win over Tulsa at the Border War. Miranda Dixon has the club’s main source of power with 11 home runs and 40 RBI. She is the first player in program history with back-to-back seasons with at least 10 home runs and 40 RBI.Kayla Johnson and Jessica Bachkora round out the top three hitters for Arkansas with batting averages of .277 and .275, respectively. The two are also tied for the team with 32 runs scored. Johnson became Arkansas’ all-time leader in runs scored earlier this season, while Bachkora sits third on that list. Bachkora leads the team with a career-high 18 stolen bases.In the circle, Dixon has tallied a 17-12 record with a 3.93 ERA in 37 appearances this season. In 174.2 innings pitched, she has struck out 136 batters and given up 57 walks. Kim Jones carries an 8-11 record with 11 complete games and a 4.00 ERA. The sophomore pitcher has thrown a career-high 134.2 innings and has struck out 85 batters.Arkansas leads the all-time series with Tulsa, 10-6, after picking up a victory over the Golden Hurricane earlier this season. In that contest, Cloer was 3-for-4 with four RBI and Dixon notched a complete-game victory to go along with a sixth-inning home run. When the two teams met last season in the regional round, the Razorbacks rallied with a two-run single by Johnson in the bottom of the sixth to come away with a 7-5 victory.

Tulsa (38-15) captured the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles and will be making its third NCAA appearance in the four years. Tulsa has won 17 of 22 since its April 1 loss to the Razorbacks at the Border War.Lauren Lindsay, the 2009 Conference USA Tournament MVP, leads the Golden Hurricane offense with a .414 batting average, eight home runs and 37 RBI. Brooke Smart and Vanessa Vice are hitting .363 and .333, respectively. Smart is tied for the team lead in home runs and RBI. Kailey Yarmer also has eight home runs and 12 doubles this season.In the circle, Jackie Lawrence is 20-4 with a 1.58 ERA in 28 appearances this season. In 168 innings pitched, she has struck out 175 batters and holding hitters to a .190 batting average. Jordan Kinard has appeared in 22 games and carries a 12-6 record, a 3.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 114.1 innings of work. Eight Tulsa players earned Conference USA postseason honors. Lindsay, Smart, Yarmer and Lawrence were first-team performers, while Vice and Kinard were members of the all-conference second team. Skylar Swanson and Jessica Stoelke were named to the all-freshman team.This weekend’s games will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com. For more details, including live streaming and ticket information, visit the official 2009 Norman Regional page.

Download: 2009 notes.pdf