The University of Arkansas softball team defeated No. 22 South Florida en route to a 1-1 record on the first day of the South Florida-Best Western Tournament in Tampa, Fla.
In the season opener against Virginia, Arkansas scored first in the top of the sixth inning when junior Dayna Huckabee crossed the plate from third base on a ground out by sophomore Jocelyne Moncrief.
The score came after a pitching change by Virginia.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Razorbacks let the first two Cavalier batters on base with consecutive errors, but managed to get out of the inning unharmed behind a fly out and two strikeouts by Henry.
Virginia answered in the top of the seventh, tying the score 1-1 on an unearned run with one out. The Cavaliers loaded the bases with three consecutive hits. Then, after junior pitcher Katy Henry struck out a batter, Virginia bunted a fielder’s choice and Arkansas committed a throwing error allowing the Cavalier run to score.
Sarah Tacke scored the winning run for Virginia on a base hit to left field by Meghan O’Leary in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Henry pitched a complete game and struck out 12 batters earning the loss for Arkansas.
“Katy pitched a great game,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “Any time you pitch that well and don’t win it is disappointing, but defensively I thought we played a solid eight innings. We made the basic plays and that’s what we’re going to have to do to be successful. I was very pleased with our team.”
In the first game of her career, freshman Jessica Bachkora was 2-for-3. Sophomore Kayla Johnson batted 2-for-4, while senior Rachel LeMaster added two hits and Huckabee added one. The Lady’Backs left 14 players on base.
Also making their Arkansas debut were freshmen Teighynne Hulsey and Jessica Waddle and sophomore Dara Clark.
In the South Florida game Arkansas jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one inning of play.
"We came out and were aggressive with the bats, and we took advantage of some of their mistakes," saidPinkerton. "Wegot out to a good lead and did enough to win."
LeMaster led off with a single up the middle, followed by a single from freshman Teighynne Hulsey. Huckabee got her first RBI of the season, scoring LeMaster from second on an RBI single up the middle. Sophomore Whitney Cloer grounded to the pitcher and Hulsey beat the throw, sliding into home for another Arkansas score. Bachkora was hit by a pitch and scored on a USF passed ball.
In the second inning, back to back hits by Johnson and Huckabee on two outs produced another run for the Lady’Backs. Johnson singled deep to the left side before Huckabee hit a triple to right field, scoring Johnson for a 5-0 lead.
The sixth Lady’Back run came off of a double to right center from Johnson in the fourth inning. Sophomore Brandy Foust scored from first base on the hit. She pinch ran for Hulsey who singled with two outs prior to Johnson’s hit.
“Huckabee and Johnson came up with two big hits against South Florida,” said Pinkerton. “They took what they were given and went with the pitch, and were successful most of the day.”
Three base hits and a sacrifice fly to left field with the bases loaded gave the Bulls their first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Pinch hitter Danielle Urbanik then came in with the bases loaded and two outs to hit a grand slam home run, putting South Florida within one run of the Lady’Backs, 6-5.
Urbanik also hit a lead off home run in the seventh inning of South Florida’s first game, giving the Bulls the 1-0 win over Western Kentucky.
Hulsey came in for Henry in the bottom of the fifth, pitching two innings before Henry returned to the mound to finish the game and earn her first win of the year as Arkansas held on for the 6-5 victory.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Eriksen and it was nice to beat a team with the tradition that South Florida has,” said Pinkerton. “That is the type of grittiness that we need to beat teams in the SEC.”
Play continues tomorrow as Arkansas takes on Western Kentucky at 9 a.m. Freshman Miranda Dixon is expected to make her Lady’Back debut on the mound.
For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.