TEMPE, ARIZ. – Four home runs, including back-to-back-to-back homers against San Jose State, led the University of Arkansas to two wins on Friday afternoon at Farrington Stadium on the campus of Arizona State. The Lady Razorbacks defeated the Spartans 9-2 and Florida International in five innings, 13-4.
Arkansas increased its winning streak to 11 games, improving to 17-2. San Jose State fell to 8-10, while FIU dropped to 6-11. For their first game, the Lady’Backs arrived at the scheduled game time (2 p.m.) after being stuck in traffic for an hour and a half for a seven-mile trip.
“Today we started off a little sluggish because of sitting on the highway,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “Both games we spotted a lead, but I’m really proud of the way we bounced back both times. Whenever they’re down they believe that they can come back. The way we hit the ball today was really, really good. Hitting is contagious and when they get on a roll, they get on a roll together.”
Down 2-0 from a two-run home run by San Jose State’s Brittany McConnell in the bottom of the fourth, Arkansas exploded for six hits and seven runs in the top of the fifth. Junior Kayla Johnson doubled through the left side to start the scoring. She plated junior Hillary Freeman and sophomore Jessica Bachkora. With Johnson on third, after advancing on the throw home against Bachkora, Dixon singled into left field to score Johnson. Sophomore Sandra Smith knocked in two more with a home run to center field. She was followed with a solo shot to left center by junior Whitney Cloer. Senior and career-home-run record holder, Dayna Huckabee made it three in a row with a homer to center. The Lady’Backs led 7-2 after five.
Freeman led off the sixth inning with a walk and was sacrificed over by junior Jocelyne Moncrief. Bachkora singled in the infield, moving Freeman to third. Bachkora stole second for her ninth stolen base of the year before Dixon collected her second and third RBI of the game, scoring both base runners with a single through the left side and putting Arkansas up 9-2.
Senior Katy Henry went the distance in the circle, giving up two runs on three hits and striking out seven to remain undefeated at 10-0.
Johnson was 2-for-3 with two RBI and Dixon went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
In Arkansas’ second game, Florida International got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the top of the second. Lisa Brooks drew a lead-off walk and was scored by Carolina Rojas on a single up the middle. Rojas then crossed the plate from second on an infield error by Arkansas.
In the bottom of the second, Cloer led off with a single up the middle, followed by Huckabee and Buckner with singles to load the bases. Pinch hitter Leslie Dixon plated Cloer with a sacrifice fly to right-center field, bringing the Lady’Backs within one, 2-1.
FIU used back-to-back home runs by Monique White and Kim Rodriguez in the top of the third to go up by three runs, 4-1. Miranda Dixon relieved starting pitcher Kim Jones in the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Huckabee drew a lead-off walk and Buckner doubled with a line drive to right center. Freeman walked to load the bases before Moncrief tallied her first RBI of the year with a single that dropped into left center. With the bases still loaded, Johnson laced one through the right side, driving in Buckner and Freeman. Johnson and Miranda Dixon scored on a line drive to left field by Cloer. Huckabee added one more with a single that took a high hop over the shortstop’s glove and scored Smith from second for six runs in the inning and a 7-4 lead.
Singles by Freeman and Moncrief put two runners on in the fifth. On two outs, Miranda Dixon doubled to right field, scoring Freeman. Smith followed with a single to center, plating Moncrief. Huckabee ended the game in the fifth with a three-run, walk-off home run to center field that put Arkansas up 13-4.
Miranda Dixon (5-1) won her fifth game pitching two and two-thirds innings She gave up three hits and struck out four.
“Miranda came off the bench and did what she had to do to get a ‘W’,” said Pinkerton.
Huckabee went 3-for-3 with four RBI, while Johnson and Cloer batted .500 with two RBI each.
The Wilson-DeMarini Invitational continues tomorrow as Arkansas has a rematch with Creighton at 2 p.m. and faces No. 2/3 Arizona State at 7:30 p.m.
“Tomorrow we’re playing two teams that were regional teams and we’re going to have to come out and play a solid 14 innings of ball to win,” Pinkerton said.
For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.