– The University of Arkansas softball team split its second day in the Woo Pig Classic. The Razorbacks fell to Jacksonville State, 5-4, and defeated Northern Iowa, 17-1 in five innings Saturday at Bogle Park.
Although Arkansas fell in game one on Saturday, the team won its semifinal against Northern Iowa to advance to the Woo Pig Classic Championship game. The Razorbacks earned a rematch with Jacksonville State at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“I like the way we came back in game one but came up short,” Head coach Mike Larabee
said. “Jacksonville State has a good ballclub. I love the way we bounced back against Northern Iowa. We swung the bats well.”Chelsea Cohen
, a senior, started game two and made quick work of the Panther lineup. She went three innings, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out four. She earned her team-leading seventh win of the year.
“Chelsea came out and dominated early,” Larabee said. “She has been our most consistent pitcher by far. She has command over all of her pitches. She is working her way into the ace role.”
Offensively it was catcher Jayme Gee
that backed the Hogs in game two. She went 3-for-3 with a grandslam, five RBI and two runs scored. Also contributing to the offense was Devon Wallace
, she went 1-for-1 with a double, three walks, two RBI and a run scored. Larabee was happy with the production from Gee and the bottom of the lineup.
“Jayme is really confident right now,” Larabee said. “I think the eight-spot is a great spot for her and she gets a lot of good pitches. I think the teams let down a little bit on the eight-hitter and she is getting some fat pitches to hit.”
Game one started with Jacksonville State loading the bases for Savannah Sloan with one out. Game one starter Kimmy Beasley
got Sloan to chase a high riseball on a 3-2 count for the second out and then battled Kelci Johnston, but fell victim to a single up the middle. This gave the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead as both runs were unearned.
Arkansas started its offense in the second as Nicole Schroeder
hit the first pitch of the inning for the Razorbacks into the centerfield grass. The solo-shot cut the lead in half at 2-1.
Beasley battled back strong after the first inning blunder and in the next 2.1 innings she retired eight straight batters. The sophomore also struck out six of those batters, improving her total to eight in the game, equaling her career high. But she ran into trouble in the fourth as Johnston walked and then Cadi Oliver double to put two on for Amanda Martinez. She was able to connect on a single but was thrown out trying to advance to second. Beasley then notched a career-high ninth strikeout to end the inning, but Jacksonville State grabbed a 4-1 lead.
The Razorbacks garnered a runner in the bottom half of the fourth and it was again Schroeder that started off the inning, reaching second on an error. Alyssa Bass
then pinch ran but was thrown out trying to steal third.
Beasley retired the first two batters to start the fifth, including her tenth strikeout of the game. But, JSU recorded back-to-back singles from Sara Borders and Kalee Tabor and that ended the game for Beasley. She went 4.2 innings and gave up four runs, two of them earned, while striking out ten batters. Cohen came in and struck out Jessica Guy to end the top of the fifth.
Cohen found her own trouble in the sixth as Johnston reached base for the third time of game one, this time on an error from Sierra Bronkey
. She was advanced to third on a single from Oliver and then scored when Amanda Martinez lined a doubled over Claire Clark
’s head in center. Another unearned run crossed the plate for the Gamecocks, it was now a 5-1 deficit for Arkansas. Cohen, however battled back to strikeout the next two batters before giving up a walk to Guy. This loaded the bases for Borders and she struck out swinging to end the sixth.
Arkansas tried to start its comeback in the sixth as Navarro led off the inning with an infield single. After a Rambo groundout, this ended the day for JSU’s Hillary Phillips, she went 5.1 innings, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out three. Tiffany Harbin then entered the game and retired the final two Razorback batters of the inning.Lauren Montgomery
led off the seventh inning with a pinch hit walk. Gee then drew her fifth walk of the season to put two runners on for Chloe Oprzedek
. She rocketed a three-run homer into the rightfield grass to cut the lead to 5-4. This brought up the 2012 SEC freshman of the year, Wallace. She singled in to left and to put a runner on first with nobody out for pinch-hitting Amanda Geile
. The junior captain reached base on a fielder’s choice, but Wallace was retired at second. After Navarro grounded into another fielder’s choice and another out was recorded, Jennifer Rambo
approached the plate with two outs. She worked a 2-1 count and Navarro stole second, narrowly escaping a tag that would have ended the game. Rambo worked a full count but went down swinging to end the game. Arkansas dropped game one of the day, 5-4, to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks.
Arkansas jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game two. Wallace started the game with her 24th walk of the season. She then advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Bronkey groundout. Navarro battled and grounded out to the shortstop, to score Wallace.
Northern Iowa answered in the top half of the second as Nicole Fisher lined a double off of the centerfield wall with one out. She would come around to score one batter later on a Micalla Rettinger single into right. This tied the game at one apiece.
The Razorbacks struck again in the second as back-to-back-to-back singles with two outs scored Amanda Geile
from second. She was the first to hit safely as Gee and Oprzedek followed, making the score 2-1, Hogs. Wallace added to the lead as she blooped a double into centerfield, scoring Gee and Oprzedek. Andrea Sullivan
and Schroder led off the bottom of the third with back-to-back walks. Two batters later Geile walked to load the bases for Gee. The junior catcher from The Woodlands, Texas smacked a grandslam into the centerfield rocks to give Arkansas an 8-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Cohen gave way to Hope McLemore
. Cohen’s classmate was able to come in and retire the side in order, striking out two of the three batters she faced.
Gee continued her spectacular game at the plate as she lined a single into center in the fourth. Her third hit of the game scored Kyndra Meeker
who pinch ran earlier in the inning. Summerford then scored when Oprzedek reached on an error, making the score 10-1, Arkansas. After Wallace walked, it loaded the bases for freshman Danielle Riddle
. She made the most of her first hit as a Razorback as she blooped a three-run double into centerfield. Riddle would come around to score as Navarro singled through the right side of the infield. Megan Pearson
followed the single with an RBI of her own as she reached on an error. Clark put the nail in the coffin with a two-out double that scored two. The Razorbacks led 17-1 after a nine-run fourth. That would be the final as Arkansas picked up its 15th win of the season.
Next up for the Hogs will be the Championship game of the Woo Pig Classic. Arkansas will square off with Jacksonville State in the title game, tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in Bogle Park.