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Arkansas drops NCAA opener to Tulsa

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas drops NCAA opener to Tulsa

NORMAN, Okla. – A recent pattern continued Friday for the Razorback softball team as the club fell behind early and couldn’t make up the difference in a 6-0 loss to Tulsa in game one of the Norman (Okla.) Regional. The Golden Hurricane got a complete-game shutout performance from Jackie Lawrence, who held Arkansas to one hit and four base runners. With the loss, the Razorbacks will move on to Saturday’s elimination game where they will face the loser of the Oklahoma-North Dakota State contest.“It was a frustrating game for us today,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “We gave up some runs to start and dug our offense an early hole. We made good contact and only struck out three times, so we hit the ball well but hit it right at people. Defensively, we made a couple errors, but they didn’t effect us and we were able to pitch around that. But when you only have one hit, you’re not going to win a lot of ball games.”The first three Tulsa hitters reached to load the bases after a pair of singles and a walk. Arkansas starter Kim Jones struck out Vanessa Vice for the first out, but Brooke Smart had an RBI groundout to plate the first run. Christian Timmons knocked a single up the middle to score Lauren Menke. Kayla Johnson threw Kailey Yarmer out at the plate to end the inning, but the Golden Hurricane had a 2-0 lead after the top of the first.Jessica Bachkora led off the bottom of the first by reaching on a fielding error by Skylar Swanson at second base. Tori Mort followed by earning a walk to give the Razorbacks runners on first and second with no outs, but Lawrence responded by retiring the 3-4-5 hitters and order and keeping Arkansas off the scoreboard.

“I see these kids battle every day,” Pinkerton said. “Right now, they’re probably putting too much pressure on themselves. Give credit to Tulsa and Lawrence because she threw an excellent game.”Jones worked a perfect second, but ran into trouble in the top of the third when she walked Lauren Lindsay to lead off the inning. After a single by Vice, the bases were once again loaded. Miranda Dixon came in to relieve Jones in the circle, but gave up a two-run single to Smart to give her team a four-run lead. Tulsa tacked on another run in the fifth on an RBI double to left center by Yarmer and the No. 3 seed had a 5-0 advantage.The Razorbacks had another two-on, no-out situation in the bottom of the fourth. Whitney Cloer led off the inning with a walk and Johnson picked up Arkansas’ lone hit of the day, a single to left field. Dixon, the next hitter, grounded into a double play and Amie Hubbard struck out to end the inning and the potential threat.Smart added Tulsa’s final run with a solo shot to lead off the top of the fifth. The Golden Hurricane left fielder finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBI. Tulsa’s 3-4-5 hitters combined to go 8-for-12 to lift their club to the victory.“Like I always tell our players, we just have to pick up some dirt and throw it to the side because today is over,” Pinkerton said. “All you can do is forget about it and come back tomorrow because it’s a new day.”The Razorbacks will take the field at 3:30 p.m. Saturday looking to extend its season. The winner of that elimination game will advance to a 6 p.m. matchup for a spot in Sunday’s regional championship game. The game will be broadcast on KXUA (88.3 FM) and live stats will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. For more information, log on to the 2009 Norman Regional home page.

Download: Tulsa 6, Arkansas 0_ncaa.pdf



Sports Category : Softball