2024 FAU Paradise Classic

Arkansas Razorbacks Softball Open Season At FAU Paradise Classic

Arkansas Razorbacks Softball Open Season At FAU Paradise Classic

Here's everything you need to know about the 2024 FAU Paradise Classic, where the Arkansas Razorbacks softball program will open their 2024 season.

Jan 18, 2024 by Briar Napier
Arkansas Razorbacks Softball Open Season At FAU Paradise Classic

Arkansas softball will open their season at the FAU Paradise Classic in Boca Raton, Florida. The No. 18-ranked Razorbacks will look to build off the back of a season where they made it to the NCAA Tournament's Regionals before losing to Oregon. 

Also headed to the Paradise Classic will be power 5 schools Michigan State and Penn State, though neither is ranked in the top 25, they will look to test their mettle early in the season against the likes of the Razorbacks. 

The FAU Paradise Classic will take place at Joan Joyce Field (formerly known as FAU Softball Stadium) on the FAU campus from Feb. 8-11, the opening weekend of the 2024 college softball season. 

All participating schools will be playing five games at this season’s FAU Paradise Classic.

Here’s a look at what to know about the FAU Paradise Classic, which will be streamed live, and exclusively, on FloSoftball:

What Teams Are Playing In The FAU Paradise Classic?

  • Florida Atlantic
  • Arkansas
  • Penn State
  • Michigan State
  • Marshall
  • Ohio 

Of the participating teams, the obvious heavy hitter is Arkansas, the No. 11 national seed from last season’s NCAA Tournament, which should be a contender in the Southeastern Conference and beyond once again. 

The Razorbacks have won at least 40 games in four straight seasons and have made six straight NCAA Tournaments; they’ll aim to increase both streaks in 2024 and start those pushes on a high note at the FAU Paradise Classic. 

Elsewhere, Ohio and Marshall (the latter of which won 45 games last season) both will bring some extra mid-major pedigree to Boca Raton, mixed in with Big Ten Conference rivals Penn State and Michigan State.

Of the six teams competing in the 2024 edition, only FAU played in last year’s event. 

The FAU Paradise Classic will be the first of three events the Owls will be hosting in February. They’ll welcome some different opponents for the Joan Joyce Classic (Feb. 15-18) and Owl Classic (Feb. 22-25). 

Players To Watch

Rylin Hedgecock, UTL, Arkansas

Hedgecock’s breakout campaign last season made waves all the way to her being named an NFCA first-team All-American. 

Entering the 2023 campaign, the Georgia native had 16 career hits with the Hogs, and by the end of last season, she had 21 home runs (second in the SEC)most of them in clutch moments, as she led the country with 11 homers with runners in scoring position. 

The only player in the SEC a season ago to smash at least 20 home runs with 60 RBIs, Hedgecock is no longer flying under the radar. She’ll be one of the preseason front-runners to be a first-team All-American once again and the SEC Player of the Year. 

Her push for all of those accolades (and more) with Arkansas this season will start in Boca Raton.

Emily Maddock, INF, Penn State

With last season’s Big Ten batting champion (Iowa’s Nia Carter) now out of the league, having transferred to Arkansas, that leaves Emily Maddock as the conference’s best returning hitter. And Maddock has plenty to build off from her fantastic junior season a year ago. 

A .439 hitter with great discipline (five strikeouts in 98 at-bats) across 38 appearances with the Nittany Lions in 2023, Maddock became the program’s first position player in six years to be named first-team All-Big Ten, a deserved award for one of the best offensive seasons in PSU history. 

The Nittany Lions won 31 games but missed out on earning an at-large bid and returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. 

With another step forward from Maddock at the plate, and more support around her, will PSU finally be able to get over the hump and get back to the regional round this time around?

Skipp Miller, RHP, Ohio

Second-year coach Jenna Hall is cooking something fierce in Athens, and Miller’s surge into an award-winning ace has been a major part of Ohio’s growth. 

Having missed all of the 2022 season due to injury, Miller was given the reins immediately as the top starter on the Bobcats’ pitching staff and thrived, leading the team in ERA (2.59), wins (18) and strikeouts (158) en route to winning the Mid-America Conference’s Freshman Pitcher of the Year Award and being an All-MAC first-team nod. 

Being entrusted with so much responsibility early on and taking advantage of it is a very encouraging sign for Hall, the reigning MAC Coach of the Year who led Ohio to a second-place finish in the league.

Additionally, the team doesn’t just return Miller. Also back are the four other Bobcats who were first- and second-team All-MAC selections. 

Ohio will get Michigan State and Arkansas in back-to-back games to open its slate at the Paradise Classic, but even with power-conference squads looming, continued improvement from Miller may help the Bobcats be just fine in Florida.

How To Watch The 2024 FAU Paradise Classic

Watch the 2024 FAU Paradise Classic on FloSoftball and the FloSports app.

FloSoftball will be streaming several NCAA Division I College Softball tournaments including the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, THE Spring Games, and the Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational

2024 FAU Paradise Classic Schedule

All times Eastern

*FAU games not broadcasted on FloSoftball.

Feb. 8

  • 2:00 p.m. – Arkansas vs. Marshall
  • 4:30 p.m. – Marshall vs. FAU*
  • 7 p.m. – Arkansas vs. FAU*

Feb. 9

  • 9 a.m. – Ohio vs. Michigan State
  • 11:30 a.m. – Ohio vs. Arkansas
  • 2 p.m. – Michigan State vs. Marshall
  • 4:30 p.m. – Penn State vs. Marshall
  • 7 p.m. – Penn State vs. FAU*

Feb. 10

  • 9 a.m. – Penn State vs. Arkansas
  • 11:15 a.m. – Michigan State vs. Arkansas
  • 1:30 p.m. – Penn State vs. Ohio
  • 3:45 p.m. – Marshall vs. Michigan State
  • 6 p.m. – Ohio vs. FAU*

Feb. 11

  • 9 a.m. – Michigan State vs. FAU*
  • 11:30 a.m. – Penn State vs. Ohio

Where Is The FAU Paradise Classic?

Boca Raton will be the place to be in February as the host of three collegiate softball events—the FAU Paradise Classic (Feb. 8-11), Joan Joyce Classic (Feb. 15-18) and the Owl Classic (Feb. 22-25). 

Boca Raton is a popular part of the South Florida landscape with miles of beaches nearby, dozens of parks that allow for a variety of activities and daily temperatures that should reach into the high 70s, allowing for ideal playing—and vacationing—conditions for the players and their guests.

If time allows, FAU Paradise Classic teams can easily visit Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, St. Augustine, Clearwater—or one of many small and charming Florida cities in between. 

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