MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – University of Arkansas junior Whitney Cloer hit the game winner in an eight-inning win over Drake University at the University of Minnesota Metrodome Classic. The win was in the Lady Razorbacks third game of the day and improves them to 7-2 for the season.
Eight different players had hits and four different players scored runs including two by junior Kayla Johnson which gave Arkansas the edge it needed to defeat the Bulldogs (1-1) who earlier in the day defeatedWestern Illinois6-1. Sophomore Miranda Dixon pitched the first five innings allowing only three hits and only one error, and senior Katy Henry came in to close and seal the win.
The Lady’Backs started the game aggressively scoring two runson four hits. With the bases loaded in the first inning, senior Dayna Huckabee hit one into center field allowing Johnson and Dixon to score RBIs giving Arkansas the early lead 2-0.
In the fourth inning, Drake began to turn it up offensively as Kristin Birocci and Erin Bly got on base and then Susan Slycord hit a double into right field rolling into the corner allowing Birocci to score and Bly to advance to third bringing the score to 2-1. Cloer pulled in the pop up to hold Drake to only one run for the inning.
The sixth inning started with Huckabee getting a hit to left field and advancing to second on a ground out by sophomore Teighynne Hulsey. Senior Samantha Buckner then hit one deep to right field which rolled back to the corner and hit the fence for a double. The hit allowed Huckabee torecord her secondRBI of the season extending Arkansas’ lead to 3-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Henry came in to relieve Dixon on the mound. Elena Leon hit a double to start off what would be a three run inning for Drake. With one out and Leon now on third, Bly hit a single grounder into center field allowing Leon to score cutting Arkansas’ lead to 3-2. Then with two outs, Jaci Faidley hit a home run over the center field fence to bring Bly in for two runs and take the lead 4-3.
With the Lady’Backs in a hole going into the seventh inning, Johnson and Dixon got on base before sophomore Sandra Smith hit a hard grounder into center field which brought Johnson home for the game-tying RBI.
Henry stepped up her pitching in the bottom of the seventh with a ground out and two strikeouts to send the game into an eighth overtime inning. Arkansas started with Buckner batting and Hulsey on second. Buckner sacrifice bunted to advance Hulsey to third and set Cloer up for a hard grounder to left field, bringing Hulsey in for the game winner. A hard line drive by Susan Slycord into the glove of Smith would end the game with another win for Arkansas.
“We did a really good job of hitting the ball and executing,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “We played our best defensive game of the year.”
Tomorrow the Lady’Backs play Western Illinois (0-4) at 1:00 p.m in the fourth game of the Metrodome Classic and their final two games are on Sunday against Iowa at 9:00 a.m. and Minnesota at 11:00 a.m. For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM