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Arkansas heads to Norman as at-large

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Breaking a three-season absence from the national tournament, the University of Arkansas softball team earned an at-large bid into the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Championship as announced Sunday evening. It marks the program’s seventh NCAA appearance, and first since 2013. For the sixth time in those seven bids, the Razorbacks are part of the Norman Regional and will open play Friday at 11:30 a.m. (CT) against Tulsa.

NCAA Norman Regional 

Who: No. 10 Oklahoma (50-8), Tulsa (39-15), Arkansas (31-22), North Dakota State (28-31)

When: May 19-21, 2017

Where: Marita Hynes Field (Norman, Okla.)

In her second season at the helm of the program, head coach Courtney Deifel has orchestrated a 14-win improvement over last year’s record which marks the best turnaround among Power 5 teams entering the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas’ seven wins in SEC play equal the program’s combined total over the previous three years. The Razorbacks began its postseason last week with their 10th overall appearance at the SEC Tournament in Knoxville.

The Razorbacks enter the NCAA Tournament with an SEC-leading 57 home runs including a single-season record 16 home runs by senior Nicole Schroeder and 10 off the bat of junior Tori Cooper. When all-conference honors were announced last week, junior shortstop A.J. Belans was named to the All-SEC Second Team while pitcher Autumn Storms earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

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