– The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the Murray State Racers and the Saint Louis Billikens by scores of 8-0 in six innings in both games at Bogle Park Saturday in the Arkansas Invitational.
Pitching led the way in both games as Arkansas pitchers combined for 12 scoreless innings pitched. Razorback pitchers allowed six hits while striking out 10. Hope McLemore
led the Razorbacks to a win in game one. She went six scoreless innings, allowed four hits and struck out six. The six strikeouts tied a season-high. Head coach Mike Larabee
thought the pitching was superb in both games on Saturday.
“We had some fantastic pitching today,” Larabee said. “I believe that pitching and defense is 75 percent of the game. We are going to continue to have pitchers do their job and have the defense make plays behind them. We also did not have an error today.”
The offense was also productive in both games as Stephanie Canfield
finished game one 4-for-4 with a double, a homerun, four RBI and a run scored. She followed the excellent game one and went 1-for-1 with a walk and an RBI in game two. Also having a nice game one at the plate was Jayme Gee
, she went 2-for-2 with a walk, two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. Gee also threw out three runners from behind the plate at catcher.
“Canfield is an amazing athlete,” Larabee said. “Not only behind the plate but defensively. She has been a catalyst for us, especially with teams putting Devon on base.”
The star of game two was surely Devon Wallace
. The sophomore led off the game with a homerun and went 2-for-3 with a homerun, a double, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored. Also contributing to the Razorback offense in the latter game was Clarisa Navarro
. The junior from La Hoya, Texas finished game two going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Nicole Schroeder
also delivered two hits including a homerun in game two. Larabee was again confident in the plate discipline of Wallace, who has an SEC-leading 13 walks this season.
“It has been unbelievable,” Larabee said. “Especially just being a sophomore. A lot of times you see players start to chase pitches out of the zone but Devon has stayed disciplined. If you want to put her on base, we have other people that can hit her home.”
Game one started with McLemore coming out on fire. She struck out two of the first three batters she faced. However, she ran into trouble in the second inning as she walked the first two batters and then allowed a single to leftfield from Sarah Anderson. This loaded the bases with one out for Mallory Richardson, who worked a 2-2 count before flying out to Andrea Sullivan
for the second out of the inning. McLemore then got Shelbey Miller to ground out and got out of the jam unharmed.
started the bottom half of the third inning with a walk, her second of the game. She reached third after Canfield notched her second hit of the day, a single. Navarro then walked to load the bases for the Razorbacks. However, the Hogs were not able to plate any runs in the inning and left their sixth runner on base of the game.
The Razorbacks again put a runner in scoring position in the fourth as Gee lined a double into the right field gap. Alyssa Bass
then came into the game to pinch run and scored when Chloe Oprzedek
doubled down the right field line. The doubles to right field continued as Canfield slapped a double into the rightfield wall, scoring Oprzedek and giving the Hogs a 2-to-0 lead.
McLemore used the offensive momentum to retire eight of the last nine batters that she faced. McLemore has now allowed five earned runs in her 26 innings pitched this season.
The offense gave her some support in the bottom of the fifth as Amanda Summerford
drew a walk and then scored on Gee’s second double in as many innings. Gee then scored on another Oprzedek double as the two hitters hit back-to-back doubles in two straight innings. Gee’s second run gave the Hogs a 4-to-0 lead. After Wallace walked for the third time of the game it put runners on first and second for Canfield. She continued her dominate day at the plate, soaring her fourth hit of the game over the rightfield fence and giving the Razorbacks a 7-to-0 lead.
Arkansas ended the game in the sixth as Lauren Montgomery
scored after a pinch hit single. Claire Clark
had the game winning double as she rocketed a ball down the rightfield line. Arkansas picked up its 10th win of the season over Murray State, 8-0, in six innings.
Game two started with fireworks as Devon Wallace
hit a solo-homerun into the leftfield grass to give Arkansas a 1-0 lead early.
Arkansas added four runs in the second when Nicole Schroeder
reached base on an error and then scored on a Gee hit. This was Gee’s second RBI of the day. The junior would score later in the inning when Wallace shot a double into the leftfield gap. Canfield followed Wallace with a single that scored Oprzedek and made the lead 4-0, Razorbacks. Navarro added one more with a single of her own, scoring Wallace and giving the Razorbacks their fourth run of the inning.
Game two pitcher Kelly Young
retired the first six batters of the game that she faced, striking out two, but ran into trouble in the third inning. Elizabeth Everingham led off the inning with a double, after two walks and two outs were recorded in the inning, Young faced Laura Bohning with the bases loaded and got her chase a 1-2 pitch. She flew out to Navarro at shortstop to end the top half of the third.
The freshman, Young then put down three of the next four batters she faced and gave way to the senior, Chelsea Cohen
. Young closed her day with five scoreless innings pitched. She gave up one hit and struck out two, notching her third win of the year. Cohen immediately came in and made an impact as she struck out two of the first three batters she faced.
Navarro started the bottom half of inning number five with a single for the Razorbacks. She showed a great hustle and advanced two bases on a sacrifice bunt from Summerford and then scored on a Jennifer Rambo
groundout. Schroder followed the run with a solo-homerun to right field, making the score 7-0, Arkansas after five.
The Razorbacks ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when Navarro blooped a single into leftfield, scoring Oprzedek. The Razorbacks won game two, 8-0 in six innings.
Next up, the Razorbacks will continue the Arkansas Invitational, tomorrow, Feb. 24. Arkansas will square off with ULM at 11:30 a.m., this time in tournament play. The winner will advance to take on the winner of Murray State and Saint Louis in the Arkansas Invitational Championship game at 4:30 p.m., a consolation game will take place before the championship.