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Arkansas rallies over No. 8 Tigers in extras

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas rallies over No. 8 Tigers in extras

COLUMBIA, Mo.—The University of Arkansas softball team rallied in game two to defeat the No. 8 Missouri Tigers, 4-1, in 11 innings on Saturday in Columbia, Mo. at University Field.

Chloe Oprzedek had the key hit in extra innings. The junior doubled in the 11th inning and it scored Devon Wallace and Stephanie Canfield, breaking a 1-1 tie. The Hogs completed their third comeback win over a ranked team in as many weeks. This was also Arkansas’ first win over a Top 10 SEC team on the road since April, 2010.

“Our players reached down deep for this one,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “This was a huge program win for the Razorbacks today. It is a big win against a great team and a national team pitcher.”

Arkansas (27-16) was led by its sophomore pitcher Kimmy Beasley in the win. She threw 11 innings and gave up one run on three hits. She struck out 12 Tiger batters in the win. This was Beasley’s third straight game with double-digit strikeouts.

“She kept a very good hitting team off balance,” Larabee said. “She has been dominating in the circle, back to last weekend. I saw some great pitches today.”

At the plate it was Wallace, she went 1-for-3 with two walks and scored a run. Also having a nice day was Clarisa Navarro. The junior went 1-for-4 and scored a key run in the seventh inning. She also added an insurance sacrifice fly in the 11th inning.

“Devon had four quality at bats today,” Larabee said. “She is one of the premier players in the country and I wouldn’t trade her for anybody in the nation.”

The game began as Oprzedek notched her second hit in as many games when she lined a single up the middle in the top of the first inning. Her two-out effort would go stranded as she was left at first base.

Beasley started out her day on an excellent pace. She retired the first six batters she faced and struck out the side in the second inning. She sent down Angela Randazzo, Kelsea Roth and Mackenzie Sykes on a nice mixture of pitches.

Missouri starter Chelsea Thomas answered by striking out the side in the top of the third. The senior had struck out six batters through three innings of play.

Kayla Kingsly tallied the first hit of the day for Missouri. She blooped a single over Navarro’s head with two outs in the third. She then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. After a walk to Emily Crane, Jenna Marston flew out to leftfield and Beasley worked out of the jam.

Canfield reached base on an infield single to start the fourth inning. However, the Hogs were unable to score her and the game remained scoreless.

Nicole Hudson started the bottom of the fourth with a walk. Beasley battled back and struck out Randazzo and Roth for her fifth and sixth strikeouts of the game. Jayme Gee then caught Hudson trying to steal second and retired the side in the fourth inning.

Wallace walked with one out in the top of the sixth. This was her NCAA-leading 55th walk of the season, however the sophomore went stranded and the score remained at zeros.

Beasley continued to dominate on the mound in the sixth as she retired three of the four batters she faced. The sophomore gave up a two-out double to Marston but then rallied and struck out Hudson to end the sixth inning.

Navarro started the top of the seventh with a roped singled through the left side of the infield. Bronkey then approached the plate and tried to bunt the runner over. She place down a beautiful bunt and the third baseman, Randazzo, had a tough throw to first. She launched it by the first-baseman, Roth and Navarro went from first base to third. The junior noticed that nobody was covering home-plate and she scampered home to give Arkansas a 1-0 lead.

The Foreman, Ark. native, Beasley got Randazzo to pop out to start the seventh inning. Two pitches later, Roth tied the game and lined a ball over the leftfield fence. Sykes followed the bomb and reached on an error. She then stole second and Genovese walked to put two runners on for Sarah Moore. Beasley battled back and struck out Moore and Kingsley to end the inning and send the game into extra innings.

Wallace again walked with one out to give her 56 on the season. Canfield followed the walk in the top of the eighth and soared a ball to centerfield. However, it was caught on the warning track for out number two. Thomas then struck out Oprzedek on four pitches and ended the top of the eighth.

The top of the order started the bottom of the eighth for the Tigers and Crane flied out to centerfield. Canfield made an excellent play on the ball and jumped up to make out number one. Beasley walked Marston but rallied to strikeout Hudson looking. Randazzo flied out to end the inning. The score stood at 1-1.

Missouri’s starter, Thomas, retired all six batters she faced in the ninth and 10th. Amanda Summerford grounded to the shortstop, Genovese, and was thrown out by a step to end the 10th inning.

Beasley answered and worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth, striking out Kingsley in the process. This was the 12th strikeout of the day for the sophomore.

Her sophomore classmate, Wallace, started the 11th inning with a double off of the rightfield wall. Canfield followed the double with a single up the middle and that put runners on corners for Oprzedek. She belted a two-run double into the rightfield gap that gave Arkansas a 3-1 lead. The junior advanced to third on the play as the ball was fumbled in the outfield. That base proved to be huge as Navarro followed the double with a sacrifice fly, making the score 4-1, Arkansas.

Beasley came back out and slammed the door on the game. She retired Marston and Hudson by virtue of a popout to start the inning. After a single to Randazzo, Roth flied out and the Razorbacks won the game, 4-1.

Next up, the series concludes with game three. The series finale will be on Sunday at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Download: Game Two Mizzou.pdf



Sports Category : Softball