Razorbacks Ready for Wolverines
The Arkansas softball team begins its final nonconference series of the season Friday against Utah Valley University.
The team’s hot hitting is expected to continue, head coach Mike Larabee said. As a team, the Razorbacks are hitting .330 and have six individual players that are batting over .300, including sophomore Devon Wallace.
Wallace has hit seven of the team’s 22 home runs this season and has a batting average of .491. Her 7-for-11 performance at the Woo Pig Classic over the weekend earned her Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honors.
“I really love the way we’re swinging the bats,” Larabee said. “(Wallace) had a phenomenal weekend. I think she’s one of the premier hitters in college softball right now and I wouldn’t trade her for anybody.”
Along with Wallace, the Razorbacks have been getting solid production from sophomore Sierra Bronkey.
Bronkey was moved up in the lineup to the two-hole spot after freshman Stephanie Canfield suffered a stress fracture in her leg Feb. 23. Since filling in for Canfield, Bronkey is batting .294 and has four RBIs.
“We just tell our team that if someone goes down, that gives somebody else the opportunity to step up and Bronkey did a nice job stepping into that two-hole spot,” Larabee said.
In the pitcher’s circle, senior Chelsea Cohen has emerged as Arkansas’ ace pitcher and sophomore Kimmy Beasley has been solid out of the bullpen.
Cohen and Beasley have combined to pitch 60 percent of the innings the Razorbacks have played this season. They also own ERAs of 2.27 and 2.86, respectively.
“They complement each other really well,” Larabee said. “Kimmy being left-handed and throwing in the mid-60s will complement any of our right-handed pitchers.”
The Razorback pitchers will have their hands full this weekend with the Wolverines, who have six players with batting averages over .300. They are led by junior Amanda Robinson, who has a .419 batting average.
Arkansas will also need to cut down fielding errors this weekend, after committing six errors in five games at the Woo Pig Classic. Their team fielding average is now .956, which is last in the SEC.
“Defensively, we need to be more consistent,” Larabee said. “We’re really going to focus on defense this week.”
The series begins Friday at 6 p.m. at Bogle Park.