#24 Arkansas Softball 2014 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks

Overall Rank: #24
Conference Rank: #9 SEC
#24 Arkansas Softball 2014 Preview
Arkansas Team Page


Arkansas enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2013, setting team marks in several categories including batting average (.283), runs (304), RBIs (274), and walks (229). They had quality regular season wins over #2 Tennessee, #8 Missouri, #17 Kentucky and #22 Georgia, earning a six seed at the SEC tournament and receiving an invitation to the NCAA tournament, losing to eventual National Champion Oklahoma. Coach Mike Larabee, after bowing out of the Norman Regional last year may have said it best: “ I’m very proud of our team, what we’ve been able to accomplish last year and this year. We’re building a program, and I really believe we are a breakthrough team. We set a lot of records this year – individual records and team records. We had a winning record in the SEC for the first time in a long time. It’s something that we’re going to build on.”

2013: 36-20, 12-10
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Larabee, 5th year

Field Players:
Many teams rely on one or two big hitters to carry the load, but Arkansas spread the wealth, balancing the production among centerfielder Stephanie Canfield, who led the way with a .361 batting average and 56 hits, first baseman Devon Wallace with team highs in runs (55) and home runs (13), and shortstop Clarisa Navarro, who tallied 39 RBIs and scored 36 times. Add to that two more .300+ hitters in Jennifer Rambo and Chloe Oprzedek, sprinkle in a respectable .963 Fielding Percentage and it’s no wonder the prospects for 2014 are bright. Every starter returns.

As if the offense and defense were not enough cause for optimism, the pitching staff is loaded and deep. Junior lefty Kimmy Beasley has the most returning experience, posting a 13-8 record with a 2.61 ERA last year, and Larabee has brought in plenty of support.  Junior Kelsey Berlin is also a lefty who transfers in from Butler Community College, freshman Grace Moll was a stand-out prep in Illinois, freshman Sydney Wright is a former Player of the Year at Bishop Snyder in Jacksonville, Florida, and former Florida Gator Kasey Fagan may also see circle time. Returning sophomore Kelly Young (5-0, 2.42 ERA in 34 innings) rounds out the staff.

Who to Watch:
With six roster pitchers on the roster, watch to see who gets the ball at crunch time. Other than that, sit back and watch the offense to see if they can duplicate last year’s output. The freshmen have impressive resumes, so it will be interesting to see which ones earn playing time on such an experienced team.

Final Projection:
Arkansas has a very balanced offense with a lot of weapons and with a nice mix of sophomores and upperclassmen. They return all starters and list eight freshmen on the roster, so this appears to be a team built to last. Count The Hogs among the teams with high hopes for 2014, and the talent to achieve them. Count them also among the teams likely to need a higher seed to advance past the regional round.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Clarisa Navarro, SS, 175
Hits: Stephanie Canfield, CF, 56
Home Runs: Devon Wallace, 1B, 13
RBIs: Clarisa Navarro, SS, 39
Runs: Devon Wallace, 1B, 13
Stolen Bases: Ashley Martindale, OF, 15

Wins: Kimmy Beasley, 12
Innings Pitched: Kimmy Beasley, 128.2
Strikeouts: Kimmy Beasley, 171
Saves: Kimmy Beasley, 3

2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#40 Sydney Wright


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