FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team will look to build off a successful 4-1 opening weekend as it travels to the FGCU Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla. The Razorbacks will play five more games this weekend against Memphis, Furman, UIC and the host Eagles, two times. Live stats will be available for all five games and a live video stream will be provided for both contests against FGCU.
FGCU Invitational Schedule
Friday, Feb. 14 vs. Memphis – 1:30 p.m. | Live Stats
Friday, Feb. 14 at FGCU – 6 p.m. | Live Stats | Live Video
Saturday, Feb. 15 vs. Furman – 9 a.m. | Live Stats
Saturday, Feb. 15 vs. UIC – 1:30 p.m. | Live Stats
Sunday, Feb. 16 at FGCU – 11:30 a.m. | Live Stats | Live Video
Razorbacks in the Polls
After the first weekend of competition, Arkansas is ranked No. 24 in both the NFCA Coaches’ and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls. D1softball.com’s poll has the Razorbacks ranked 21st and the Softball America poll places the team 22nd. The team was predicted to finish seventh in the Southeastern Conference after a vote of the 13 head coaches in the league’s preseason poll.
The team was predicted to finish seventh in the Southeastern Conference after a vote of the 13 head coaches in the league’s preseason poll. Returning All-SEC selections, senior Autumn Storms and junior Hannah McEwen were named to the 13th annual Southeastern Conference Preseason All-SEC Team.
Last Time Out
Arkansas opened the season with a 4-1 start at the Troy Cox Classic hosted by New Mexico State last weekend. The Razorbacks defeated UTEP 10-0 in five innings on Friday, Feb. 7 in the season’s first game and fell to Bradley, 3-2, later that afternoon. The Hogs won the final three games against Bradley (12-1, 5 innings), New Mexico State (5-4) and Nebraska (15-4, 5 innings).
Junior Danielle Gibson was the hero in a thrilling 5-4 win over the Aggies in front of a full capacity crowd. With the team trailing by a run and down to its final two outs, the first baseman crushed the go-ahead two-run homer over the left centerfield fence to earn the come-from-behind victory.
Junior Linnie Malkin cranked two home runs in the same day against the Braves and Aggies as part of a six RBI weekend. Senior Sydney Parr began the season on a torrid pace hitting .556 (10-for-18) and setting a career-high in hits (4) against Nebraska.
The trio of senior Ryan Jackson, junior Braxton Burnside and sophomore Audrie LaValley all hit their first Razorback home runs in the 15-4 trouncing of the Cornhuskers.
- Arkansas won at least four games in its opening weekend of competition for the fourth consecutive season, the longest streak in program history.
- The Razorbacks scored first in four of its first five games.
- Arkansas’ 11-run victory against Nebraska is its largest margin of victory against a Big 10 opponent in school history.
- Head coach Courtney Deifel improved to 4-1 in season openers after a 10-0 win over UTEP on Feb. 7.
- Arkansas features one of the most experienced pitching staffs in the country and returns all but three innings of 375.1 innings from a season ago (99.2%). The tandem of senior Autumn Storms and junior Mary Haff combined to throw 362 innings. Storms worked 9.2 innings and did not allow an earned run in the opening weekend.
- Last season, junior infielder Danielle Gibson hit just the second home run cycle in Division I history. She clubbed a solo home run, two-run home run, three-run home run and grand slam against SIUE on Feb. 23rd in a 15-3 win.
- Under head coach Courtney Deifel, the Razorbacks have made three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
Memphis – Arkansas leads the series against the Tigers, 3-1. All four matchups in the series have occurred at neutral sites. The Hogs won the last meeting, 4-2, on Feb. 25, 2017 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Furman – The Razorbacks and Paladins are meeting for the fourth time after Arkansas swept a three-game series in Fayetteville last season. The Razorbacks won the series opener, 6-5 in 12 innings, which is tied for the second-longest game in school history.
UIC – Arkansas has not faced the Flames since a 6-2 win on Feb. 10, 2001 in Arlington, Texas.
FGCU – The Hogs will take on the Eagles for the second time after a Feb. 22, 2014 14-7 win in Fort Myers. Arkansas went 5-0 at the 2014 FGCU Invitational.
Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for the latest information on all things Arkansas Softball. You can also find the Hogs on social media by liking us on Facebook (Arkansas Razorback Softball) and following us on Twitter (@RazorbackSB) and Instagram (@Razorback_SB).