FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback softball team claimed a game-two victory Saturday against Auburn to earn a split of the day’s doubleheader. In an extra-inning affair in game one, the Tigers scored a run in the top of the eighth to secure a 4-3 victory. Arkansas (22-14, 9-5) responded with a 4-2 win in the day’s finale behind a Miranda Dixon complete game.The Razorbacks took the early lead in game one on Amie Hubbard’s solo shot to left field. It was the third home run of the season for Hubbard and gave Arkansas the 1-0 advantage until the top of the fourth when the Tigers tied the score on a sacrifice fly by Amber Harrison. Myesha Finney, who doubled to lead off the inning, came in to score from third to even the score.Arkansas didn’t wait long to regain the lead as they plated two runs on one swing by Dixon in the bottom of the fourth. Dixon connected on a two-run shot to left center for her fifth home run of the season and her second in as many games. Whitney Cloer singled ahead of Dixon to count as the first run.In the top of the fifth, Auburn (26-13, 6-7) came right back with two runs of its own. With the bases loaded, Tatiana Fernandez had a two-RBI single up the middle. Kyndall White and Cassie Trosclair represented the two Tiger scores. The score was tied, 3-3.Neither team could score in the sixth or seventh so the game went into extras. In the top of eighth, Elizabeth Eisterhold picked up her second hit of the game to score Fernandez, who led off the inning with a walk.In the bottom of the eighth, the Razorbacks put a runner on first in the way of an infield single by Brittany Robison; Becca Carden came on to pinch run. However, Auburn starter Anna Thompson retired the next two hitters, Jessica Bachkora and pinch-hitter Jessica Robison, to end the game.
“In the first game, it was a situation where we battled and had leads but weren’t able to sustain anything,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “We had too many blank at-bats. When you strike out (13 times), that’s five innings where you’re just not putting the ball in play. Kim had a good outing and the defense played well, but we didn’t do what we had to do, offensively.”
Auburn jumped out to a 1-0 lead in game two with an RBI single by Taryn Gray that scored Harrison.
The Razorbacks were held without a hit until the bottom of the third when Cloer tripled down the right field line to score Bachkora and Tori Mort. The top two of the Arkansas lineup reached via a hit by pitch and walk, respectively. All the damage was done with two outs in the inning.
As a developing pattern during the day, it didn’t take long for the opposition to reply. In the top of the fourth, pinch runner Katie Colton came around to score on a single by Gray. It was the second RBI of the game for the Auburn senior.
Arkansas put a wrap on the game with a two-run fifth that started with a bloop single by Sandra Smith. After a sacrifice by Griffiths, Hillary Freeman, on to run for Smith, stood at second. She was brought home on a single up the middle by Bachkora, who ended up on second after a Tiger fielding error. Mort followed with an infield single and Cloer walked to load the bases. Bachkora scored the Razorbacks’ fourth run when a pitch from Jenne Loree got by Fernandez.
“The win in the second game gives us a chance to win the rubber game tomorrow,” Pinkerton said. “We came out and played good defense. We had some timely hits and took advantage of a couple of their mistakes. We didn’t hit the ball the way we’re capable but there are going to be days like that and we just kept plugging away and eeked out a 4-2 win.”
Dixon picked up the victory in the circle for Arkansas to improve to 14-4 on the year. The junior pitcher is now 8-2 in conference games. She struck out three batters during the game and was helped by solid defensive backing, including a double play in the first and a rundown out in the sixth.
Arkansas and Auburn return to the field Sunday for the finale of this weekend set. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Bogle Park. The game will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, where live stats will also be available.
Download: Auburn 4, Arkansas 3.pdf