On Outside the Chalk, our Florida State softball preview series, we’ll be giving you inside looks at the Seminoles’ opponents ahead of major matchups this season.
For today’s game against the Arkansas Razorbacks, we are joined by Sydney Fields. Fields is the co-host of the all Razorback sports podcast, Runnin’ Though the A, as well as a contributor at College Softball Central. She will help us preview the Arkansas squad, who is coming off a season ending loss to the Texas Longhorns in the Fayetteville Super Regional.
Last weekend, the Hogs sent themselves west to Las Vegas, where they went 5-0 in the Rebel Kickoff. Their wins came against Weber State, Southern Utah, Baylor, and the host UNLC. Three of their five wins came via the run rule. They will begin their tournament in Clearwater with the Florida State Seminoles.
The Hogs lose a lot of offensive production to graduation, but have the top ranked freshman class coming in, what freshmen are standing out so far?
Sydney: Atliya Rijo (SS) had a really big weekend in Las Vegas last week, hitting .636 with one home-run, 6 runs, and 5 RBI’s. Freshman UTIL/LHP Hannah Camenzind hit a home-run on her first and only at bat, and then started in the circle the next game. Moving away from the offense, LHP Robyn Herron is a unit in the circle. She pitched 4.2 innings over the weekend and threw 6 strikeouts, holding batters to a .125 avg.
Q: Chenise Delce put the softball world on notice last season, and made herself the ace, how does she keep hitters guessing for this season?
Sydney: Chenise can do it all in the circle. She learned a drop ball in one day last season, I believe she mentioned that if she needs to she can add another pitch. She’s confident and very aware of what she has to do to be the best. Her movement is just so good it’ll be hard for hitters to know what she’ll do.
Mary Haff is one pitcher who is no longer on the roster after a stellar career in Fayetteville, who is going to be the second behind Delce? Or is it more of a bullpen approach?
Sydney: At first, I thought freshman Robyn Herron would be the number 2 pitcher, but after last weekend I’m really impressed by Callie Turner. She’s a junior and has had some confidence issues in the past which is why I was worried, but she was incredible and I’m excited to see if she continues that dominance. She threw 11 innings, 9 strikeouts, only gave up 3 hits, and a 0.00 ERA. Herron still has the opportunity to take that role but she is young and experience will help her grow. In my opinion, it’s Delce, Turner, Herron, Nikki McGaffin, and Hannah Camenzind in that order. McGaffin takes more of a relief role and Camenzind may be in that position as well.
Last season, KB Sides was all the speed, how do they replace her production on the basepaths?
Sydney: This is one of the fastest teams I’ve seen in softball. There’s speed everywhere. Freshman center fielder Reagan Johnson is incredibly quick, Raigan Kramer and Kristina Foreman are also really fast. The Razorbacks lost a huge speed threat in freshman Nyjah Fontenot due to an ACL tear in the off season. But this team has speed and is a definite threat on the bases. We saw that in action last weekend.
Kristina Foreman and Cylie Halvorson are the notable transfers into the program, coming from Duke and South Dakota State, how do they fit into this lineup?
Sydney: Arkansas is very lucky to have gotten these two as they had big performances last weekend. They were very impressive in the fall as well. Cylie Halvorson has been perfect at first base and she’s been in the 3 spot in the lineup. She hit 2 home-runs, 8 RBI’s, and a .333 avg. Kristina Foreman hit in the 2 hole and had a handful of home-runs with 3, 6 runs, 5 RBI’s, and a .267 avg. She’s been great at 2nd base as well. They’re both really good hitters and fit in perfectly.
Where to watch
FSU and the Hogs will square off at 1 p.m. on ESPNU