With the return of multiple big playmakers, incoming freshmen and transfers, the Arkansas softball team is predicted to have its highest finish in the SEC in the team’s history, according to conference coaches.
Before last season, Arkansas was predicted to finish No. 10. After freshman outfielder Hannah McEwen recorded 45 runs and 12 home runs and freshman pitcher Mary Haff’s 249 strikeouts, the Hogs ended last season better than expected with a 42-17 overall and 12-12 conference record, ending 7th overall.
During preseason polling by all 13 SEC head coaches, teams were allotted points, with 12 points going to the team expected to finish first and going all the way to one point for last place. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
Arkansas finished with 97 total points, which put it to finish No. 5 in the SEC, which is the highest selection since the program’s first season in 1997-1998.
In addition to the returners, this season will see many newcomers that can help the Hogs to that top five finish. Sophomore infielder Danielle Gibson transferred from Arizona State after being named All PAC-12 First Team and leading the Sun Devils to a College World Series appearance. Junior pitcher Lauren Graves, who was both a pitcher and batter for the Maryland Terrapins, is transferring home to the Natural State. A three time all-state tournament team member, she lead White Hall High School to the 5A state championship in 2014.
After being named the MVP following her state title with the Sheridan Yellowjackets, the Arkansas Activities Association named freshman Maggie Hicks as the 2018 Softball Player of the Year. Freshman Taylor Greene had a standout career as the all-time leader in home runs and RBIs at her high school in Milton, Georgia.
The Razorbacks’ season will begin Feb. 8 against the Campbell Camels in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Razorback Invitational opens the home season against Southeast Missouri State at 5 p.m. Feb. 21.