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Scouting Arkansas Softball's Opening Weekend Opponents

The Arkansas Razorback softball team opens their season in Las Vegas, Nevada at the UNLV Rebel Kickoff. UNLV will be hosting Arkansas, Baylor, Southern Utah, and Weber State. Arkansas will play each team, including two games against Weber State.

Weber State - Big Sky Conference

Weber State is ranked No. 1 in the Big Sky preseason poll for the fourth year in a row after going 38-12 in 2022. Similar to the Razorbacks, last season, the Wildcats won both their conference and conference tournament. They set a Big Sky record for winning percentage (.760) and conference winning percentage (.929). Head coach Mary Kay Amicone was named 2022 Big Sky Coach of the Year. The Wildcats' season ended in the 2022 Seattle Regional last year, dropping games to Texas and Lehigh. Arkansas will face Weber State at 4:00pm CT on Friday and 11:00am CT on Saturday.

Players to watch:

- Faith Hoe: 2021 & 2022 All-Big Sky Conference First Team Second Base. 2019 Big Sky Co-Freshman of the Year. Hit .377 with a .532 slugging % and 45 runs, 41 RBI's in 2022.

- Lauren Hoe: Fifth year catcher. 2022 All-Big Sky Conference Second Team Catcher. 2021 Big Sky Player of the Year. Has a .307 career avg with 22 career home-runs.

- Chloe Camarero: Fifth year outfielder. 2021 & 2022 All-Big Sky Conference First Team Outfield. 2019 All-Big Sky Conference First Team Third Base. Led the team with 11 home-runs in 2022. Ranked 2nd in Weber State history for RBI's with 136.

UNLV - Mountain West Conference

The UNLV Rebels have been picked to place 3rd in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason vote. They return 6 starters, 3 pitchers, and 14 players overall from the 2022 team that placed 2nd in the National Invitational Softball Championship. They added 3 freshmen and 6 transfers in the offseason. The Rebels went 43-15 overall last year. They had 7 hitters (5 returning) with batting averages above .330. They lost their 2022 ace Jenny Bressler, so it will be interesting to see who takes that role in the circle between Jasmine Martin and Alanna Thiede. Arkansas will face UNLV at 9:00pm on Friday.

Players to watch:

- April Visser: Second baseman. Led the team with 15 home-runs, held a .355 avg in 2022. Scored 51 runs and 48 RBI's.

- Sofia Morales: Outfield. 2022 All-Conference Second Team CF. Led the team with a .378 batting avg.

- Ariana Martinez: 1B. 2022 All-Conference First Team DP/1B. Hit 30 RBI's in conference play, 2nd in the Mountain West. Averaged .360 and hit 7 home-runs in 2022.

Southern Utah - WAC

Southern Utah went 3-40 last season, and 0-18 in conference. No one on the team had a batting average about .260. To combat last seasons woes, the Thunderbirds bring in 4 transfers and 5 freshmen. Junior pitcher Capri Franzen led the team with 3 home-runs while also doing damage in the circle last season. They moved from the Big Sky Conference to the WAC this season. Arkansas plays Southern Utah at 1:30pm CT on Saturday.

Players to watch:

- Jayne Sepulveda: Second baseman. 2022 All-Big Sky Honorable Mention. Team high batting avg (.256), slugging % (.388), hits (33), runs (18), and tied for home-runs (3). Recorded a .914 fielding %.

- Capri Franzen: Tied for most home-runs (3) in 2022.

Baylor - Big 12 Conference

Baylor finished the 2022 season winning the National Invitational Softball Championship after going 4-0 in the tournament. They return 9 starters, 3 pitchers, and add 3 transfers. The Bears return their top hitters and could be a force this season. They have a young but loaded roster that can be experimented with all weekend. We have the Bears at No. 4 in our College Softball Central Big 12 preseason poll. Arkansas faced Baylor as their last game on Sunday at 11:00am CT.

Players to watch:

- McKenzie Wilson: Centerfielder and leadoff batter. 2022 All-Big12 First Team. 2022 NISC All-Tournament Team. 2019 Mountain West Freshman of the Year. Hit .424, 53 runs, and .606 slugging %. Named 2023 preseason All-Big12.

- Aliyah Binford: 2022 All-Big12 Second Team. 156 strikeouts in 137 innings pitched. 2.50 ERA. Pitches and plays infield. Hit a .316 avg and 5 home-runs.

- Emily Hott: Can play any position, but is playing outfield this season. Hit .331, 43 hits, 2 home-runs in 2022. 2021 All-Big 12 Second Team.

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