Auburn Ala. – The University of Arkansas softball team dropped a close game 3-2 to Auburn in eight innings, moving its overall record to 23-20 and 4-16 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn improves to 27-18 and 6-14 in the SEC.Freshman Devon Wallace got the game going for the Razorbacks blasting a lead-off home run over the right field wall giving Arkansas to early 1-0 lead. Wallace leads the Razorbacks in home runs on the season, now with nine, seven being in SEC play.
The Razorbacks defense made some solid routine plays from Chloe Oprzedek to Andrea Sullivan to collect two of the three outs of the first inning.The Tigers got their first hit of the game with a double to the left center field wall from Caitlin Schultze, who then advanced to third off a sacrifice bunt. Schultze was brought in for a score after a single to tie the game at one. The Tigers proceeded to load the bases after being hit by two pitches with two outs in the bottom of the second. One more run scored giving Auburn the 2-1 lead. Chelsea Cohen closed the inning collecting a clutch strikeout with the bases loaded.Wallace collected her 42nd walk of the season in the top the third breaking the single season record of walks set by Sandra Smith in 2010, which was 41 walks.The Razorbacks placed a runner in scoring position in the top of the fourth after Sullivan was walked, but was unable to come home for the score.Wallace was able to reach second base in the top of the fifth after an error by the left fielder who dropped a fly ball. Martindale was brought in to pinch run for Wallace. With two outs in the inning, Clarisa Navarro hit a line drive down the left field line to bring in Martindale and tie the game at two. Cohen held strong in the bottom of the fifth collecting three more strikeouts giving her a total six on the game."Chelsea competed well tonight," said head coach Mike Larabee.The Razorbacks got their offense going again in the top of the sixth after an error by Auburn’s first baseman allowed for Jennifer Rambo to make it to first. Oprzedek grabbed her second hit on the night when she hit a line drive at the short stop forcing her to bobble it and allowing her to make it safely to first. Bronkey, like Oprzedek, drove the ball right at the short stop forcing her to make an error and loading the bases. Auburn struck out back-to-back batters, stranding all three Razorbacks on base and keeping the score 2-2.Auburn threatened in the bottom of the sixth after a single and a bunt. A throwing error from Jayme Gee allowed the runner to advance to third, but Arkansas grabbed two pop ups to escape the inning and keeping the game tied at two.Neither team was able to put a run on the board in the seven innings forcing extra innings in the first game of the series.Auburn loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth. A hit up the middle from Baylee Stephens brought one run in and gave the Tigers the 3-2 walk-off victory."We are going to have to eliminate the metal errors from our play," said Larabee" "We are playing in one of the best conferences in the country and we cannot afford those types of errors. We are going to have to regroup now and come out tomorrow ready to play and grab a victory."Arkansas is back in action tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the second game of the series against the Auburn Tigers. There will be a live blog and live stats available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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