FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – When Arkansas kicks off the Fayetteville regional Friday evening against Princeton, it won't be with fear of giving up the home run.
While the Razorbacks are one of the most prolific home run hitting teams in the country with 102, the Tigers have only made the round trip 15 times this season. However, that doesn't mean they are a team that shouldn't cause concern.
The Princeton softball team celebrates finding out it will open regionals against No. 4 seed Arkansas in the Fayetteville Regional.
If a year's worth of statistics are to be taken at face value and not as an indictment of level of competition, then the fans at Bogle Park are going to be in for a long night if they hope to round up a home run ball. Princeton has only allowed five long balls all season.
What the Tigers lack in hitting power, they make up for with consistency at the plate.
Exactly two-thirds of the starting line-up bats over .300, led by Adrienne Chang and Serena Starks at .368 and .356 respectively. Chang also brings a .976 on-base percentage, along with Lauren Sablone's .906.
Princeton took its lumps early in the year, hitting the road to Florida and California to face quality competition that delivered a 1-8 record.
However, the Tigers finally caught their stride in a tournament at UC-Santa Barbara to close out a full month on the road by going five games deep before eventually losing to a 40-win South Dakota St. team that faces Michigan in the Orlando Region.
Princeton went 21-5 after the difficult start by coupling the tournament run with a dominating trip through the Ivy League.
The Princeton Tigers celebrate winning the Ivy League softball championship.
The key to this game will be the pitching of Alexis Laudenslager. After starting the year with an ERA over 8.00, she has found her stride and has whittled it down to 1.93 with consistency each game.
She's only given up 30 earned runs in 25 starts, 12 of which came in three games early in the season. Laudenslager also only give us two walks per game, so if the Hogs hope to avoid the upset, it's going to have to be done by putting the ball in play.
Fans can watch the game at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network and Fubo. The winner will face the winner of Game 2 between Oregon and Wichita St. Saturday at 2 p.m.
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