CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Arkansas Razorbacks (5-6) fell 4-3 to Rutgers in the opening day of the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Islander Classic on Thursday afternoon.
It took nine innings for the Scarlet Knights (1-4) to pull off their first win of the 2011 season. RU was first on the board, scoring one in each of the second and third innings. It took Arkansas four innings to answer back with a short single by Jennifer Rambo and another by sophomore Tori Mort after freshman Jayme Gee took first off a walk. A sacrifice fly to center field by senior Becca Carden brought Gee across the plate to light up the board for the Hogs.
"It’s obviously very disappointing," head coach Mike Larabee said. "I think they are a team that we need to beat and I thought they came out with a little bit more enthusiasm than we did."
The Razorbacks took the lead in the fifth off a two-run home run by senior Layne McGuirt to bring in freshman Macy Burr. The freshman stepped in as a pinch runner for Stephanie Brewer who doubled to left center. RU came back in its half of the sixth with the game-tying run to force extra innings.
The Hogs struggled around the bases, leaving three runners on base after the first and two in each of the fourth and the seventh.
"In extra innings I thought we did a great job of advancing the runner to third, we just didn’t get that big hit that we needed," Larabee said.
Starting pitcher Kim Jones worked 2.1 innings for the Hogs and picked up five strikeouts before Layne McGuirt came into the circle. Her four complete innings brought four hits and just one run for the Scarlet Knights. Hope McLemore came in to close the game with five strikeouts in just two innings at work. Collectively, the Hog pitchers managed 12 strikeouts and just three earned runs in the loss.
"I thought Kim threw alright, she wasn’t as sharp as she was last week. Layne came in and did a really nice job and Hope came in, in some really super-pressure situations and she pitched better than she has all year," Larabee said. "We have to kind of regroup now and come back and take them one at a time."
The Hogs continue at the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Islander Classic on Friday, Feb. 25 as they take on Texas Southern at 11 a.m. and host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 3 p.m.