Athens, Ga.- The University of Arkansas softball team split a doubleheader with No. 11 Georgia, moving its record to 27-25 overall and 7-20 in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia moves to 39-14 overall and 16-11 in the SEC. With the one victory, Arkansas is now eligible for a bid for post-season play because it will finish regular season play with a winning record.
The Bulldogs came out with their bats swinging in the first game of the doubleheader. Georgia got on the board in the bottom of the first when a ball was hit in right center field, dropping for an error, which allowed the batter to make it all the way to third. The Bulldogs second baseman hit a sacrifice fly to the right field bringing home a run. Georgia then recorded a single from its shortstop, followed by the batter being hit by a pitch placing a runner in scoring position. One more run was brought in for the Bulldogs off of two wild pitches giving them the 2-0 lead.
Arkansas showed some solid defensive work in the bottom of the third with a throw from the catcher Jayme Gee
to Clarisa Navarro
to tag out the runner attempting to steal second. Pitcher Kimmy Beasley
followed with her second strikeout of the day. Chloe Oprzedek
then caught a pop-up to force the Bulldogs to go three- up and three-down.
Arkansas recorded its first hit if the day in the top of the fourth when Navarro out ran the ball to first. She then went on to steal second and was advanced to third off of a fielder's choice. She continued her trip around the bases when she made it home, sliding into home plate off of a wild pitch, making the score 2-1.
The Razorbacks forced the least amount of Bulldogs to take the plate again in the bottom of the fourth collecting three quick outs. Sierra Bronkey
recorded her first hit of the day with a powerful ball hit right at the second baseman who was not able to control it, allowing time for Bronkey to make it safely to first. Tori Mort
who was already on base after being walked made it all the way to third off an error from the right fielder. Megan Pearson
was hit by a pitch to load the bases with only one out, but unfortunately the Razorbacks were unable to bring home any runners keeping the score 2-1 Georgia.
Navarro collected her second hit on the day clearing the score board for a solo home run, her 10th of the season.
Georgia's left-fielder made it to first in the bottom of the seventh with a single. She then stole second base and advanced to third off a wild pitch. Tess Sito brought the runner home with a hit up the middle to give Georgia the first game 3-2, in walk-off fashion.
Arkansas began the second game of the doubleheader with a solid first inning defensive performance, forcing Georgia to go three-up, three-down.
Bronkey got the offense going in the top of the second, hitting a double out to right center field. She advanced to third off a fielder's choice, but was stranded there.
Georgia recorded its first hit of the second game in the bottom of the second with a single down the left field line; the runner was left one first with Hope McLemore
striking out the final batter that inning.
The Bulldogs placed a runner in scoring position after back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fourth. The Razorbacks defense held strong, grabbing the final out of the inning with a throw from Navarro to Oprzedek keeping the game scoreless going into the fifth.
Georgia took the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back singles, a stolen base and an error on Arkansas.
Mort grabbed her first hit on the day in the top of the sixth when she hit the ball up the middle for a single. Wallace collected her first hit on the day blasting the ball over the center field wall for a two-run home run and giving Arkansas the 2-1 lead. Wallace now has 14 home runs on the season, 12 being in SEC play. She has hit a home run against seven of the other 10 opposing SEC schools including, Ole Miss (1), Tennessee (1), South Carolina (2), Kentucky (2), Auburn (1), Alabama (4) and now Georgia (1).
"Devon came up big for us today," said Larabee. "I feel that she is one of the best hitters in the conference."
The Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the sixth after a double from their right fielder. The runner then advanced to third off of a fielder's choice. No runs were scored for Georgia in the bottom of the sixth.
Bronkey recorded her third hit of the day in the top of the seventh with a single out to left field. Alyssa Bass
came in to pinch run for Bronkey and stole second base right off the bat. She was then advanced to third off of a sacrifice bunt from Gee. The Razorbacks were unable to bring home Bass for the insurance run, stranding her on third.
Georgia threatened in the bottom of the seventh when the leadoff batter made it to first off a bunt. She then stole second base, placing herself in scoring position. Beasley grabbed a clutch strikeout, followed by two pop ups to give Arkansas to 2-1 victory.
McLemore threw 5.1 innings in the second game collecting the win with two strikeouts and not allowing any walks. Beasley threw a total of 8.1 innings on the day collecting four strikeouts while only walking one.
"Hope and Kimmy both did an outstanding job today in the circle," said Larabee. "I was really proud of the way they competed."
Arkansas will wrap up the series with Georgia tomorrow at 12:30. There will be a live blog and live stats available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. For more information regarding Razorback softball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.