FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 6 Arkansas softball team (36-5, 16-2 SEC), which is in first place in the SEC standings, steps out of conference action to host Central Arkansas (26-14, 14-4 SLC) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21. The game completes the first ever home-and-home series between the two Natural State programs, as the Razorbacks defeated the Bears, 4-1, on March 9 in Conway. Jacob Pavilack (play-by-play) and former Razorback outfielder Sydney Parr (analyst) will have the call on SEC Network+.
Last Time Out
Arkansas swept No. 20 Georgia on the road, 10-3, 5-2 and 5-2 last weekend. The Razorbacks totaled seven home runs, the most by any SEC team in a three-game series this season. The 10 runs scored in Friday’s game are the most scored by the Razorbacks in SEC play this season and the most Georgia has allowed. Infielder Danielle Gibson went 4 for 10 at the plate with two homers, a double and seven RBI, while outfielder Hannah McEwen collected five hits during the series, including a homer. The pitching staff of Mary Haff, Autumn Storms and Jenna Bloom registered a 2.33 ERA and struck out 18 compared to six walks. Haff led the way pitching 10.2 innings with a win, two saves, and a 1.97 ERA.
Arkansas in the National Rankings
This week, Arkansas was ranked No. 6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll and No. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches’ Poll, both the highest in program history.
The Hogs (13-2) sit 2.5 games ahead of Florida (10-2) for first place in the SEC standings. Arkansas opened the league schedule winning 12 straight games, the best mark in school history and the fifth-best in conference history. The Razorbacks’ 16 league wins are the most in program history during the current 24-game SEC scheduling format.
The Razorbacks have been on a power surge this season, totaling 79 home runs to lead the SEC and rank tied for second nationally. Burnside leads the team with 22 homers, which leads the SEC and ranks second in the country behind Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo (23). Malkin and Gibson have has added 13 homers each, both are sixth-best in the SEC and 18th nationally. The Razorbacks are one of two teams in the country (Oklahoma) that have four or more players with 10 or more homers, which includes catcher Kayla Green. Infielder Keely Huffine has hit five total homers, including four from the nine-spot in the order.
Burnside’s 22 home runs this season are the most in a single season in program history. She broke the record with her 18th shot of the year on April 1 at Auburn, launching a three-run bomb in the fifth inning. Burnside broke Nicole Shroeder’s record of 17 set in 2017. Burnside has also reached base in 32 straight games.
- Pitcher Mary Haff ranks fifth in the nation in wins (19) and 21st in strikeouts (151). Haff’s career ERA of 1.61 and .177 opponent batting average are the best marks in program history.
- In addition to ranking second in the country in homers, the Razorbacks also rank third in walks, drawing 163.
- Arkansas ended a 19-game win streak on Tuesday, March 16, which was the longest in program history. It bested the prior record of 12 set by the 1999 and 2008 teams and was the only one of the three streaks to encompass a conference series sweep. This year’s squad is the only team in school history to have two winning streaks of at least 12 games in the same season.
- Arkansas’ five SEC series sweeps are the most in program history since the current conference scheduling format began in 2013. The team’s 16 SEC wins are the most in a year over that span.
- The Razorbacks’ 36 total wins are the most in the country.
Central Arkansas took one of its three-game series last weekend at Houston Baptist and sits in second place of the Southland Conference standings. The Bears won the first game, 5-2, and then lost a pair of one-run games, 1-0 and 2-1. Outfielder Jenna Wildeman leads the team with 49 hits and a .398 batting average. Infielder Mary Kate Brown has totaled a team-best 15 extra base hits. Pitcher Kayla Beavers has thrown the most innings (106.1) on the staff and picked up a team-best 13 wins with a 1.18 ERA.
Arkansas hosts Missouri for its final home series of the regular season from Saturday, April 24 through Monday, April 26. Arkansas will honor its senior class on Sunday, April 25.