#32 Arkansas Softball 2018 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks
Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank: #11 SEC

Arkansas has the potential to take a big step forward this year. Sophomore pitchers Autumn Storms and Caroline Hedgcock both played quite well as freshmen. If they can take that year of experience and turn into more consistent players, the Razorbacks will be in for a very good year. It was Storms that was thrown into the fire as a freshman. She pitched 172.0 innings and threw 13 complete games in 33 starts. And Storms came out of it with a very respectable 2.28 ERA.

2017: 31-24, 7-18
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Courtney Deifel
Key Departed Players:
Nicole Schroeder, IF/OF, .329 BA, 17 HR, 49 RBI
Madison Yannetti, IF, .248 BA, 6 HR, 28 RBI
Shelby Hiers, C/OF, .241 BA, 3 HR, 18 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Autumn Buczek, IF, .349 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI
A.J. Belans, IF, .295 BA, 8 HR, 33 RBI
Tori Cooper, OF, .285 BA, 10 HR, 40 RBI
Ashley Diaz, IF, .283 BA, 3 HR, 21 RBI
Autumn Storms, P, 2.28 ERA, 16-15 W-L, 172.0 IP, 96 SO
Caroline Hedgcock, P, 2.84 ERA, 3-5 W-L, 61.2 IP, 31 SO
At the plate, the Razorbacks will certainly miss Nicole Schroeder and her .329 batting average, 17 homeruns and 49 RBIs. However, Coach Courtney Deifel has other talented hitters that are ready to step up. Tori Cooper and A.J. Belans figure to be the team’s top power hitters. Those two alone combined to hit 18 homeruns. Autumn Buczek is the only returning player to hit over .300, but this is a team that can make the most of their hits. If the hits are timely and Storms and Hedgcock are on top of their game, this could turn into a very tough Arkansas team. They may not be a competitor in the SEC due to the bevy of College World Series favorites in the conference, but Arkansas can certainly make an impact on the conference rank.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament