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FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team played to a split but won the Border War Wednesday at Lady’Back Yard.
Arkansas (23-14) opened with a 4-2 win over Oklahoma State in (15-17) the 5:00 p.m. game but suffered a 2-1 loss to Tulsa (18-15) in the nightcap. OSU defeated Tulsa in the first game of the afternoon making each team 1-1. Arkansas wins the tournament by virtue of run differential finishing the night at plus three. Tulsa was second followed by OSU.
It was a solid offensive performance in the two game evening as the Lady Razorbacks pounded out 16 hits and scored five runs in two contests.
Senior Katy Henry threw the win in the opener going the distance and recording eight strikeouts in the shutout. Sophomore Miranda Dixon got the start in the circle for the second game and was relived by Henry in the top of the seventh inning against Tulsa.
“Overall I’m pleased with the night,” said Arkansas head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “We had opportunities in both games but just didn’t capitalize in the second one.”
A four-run, five-hit sixth inning was the difference in the opener for the Lady Razorbacks in game one. Arkansas had base runners in four of the first five frames but finally pushed a run across in the sixth.
The inning opened with a fly ball out followed by a single to the right side off the bat of Whitney Cloer. The second infield fly of the inning seemed to signal the end of the rally but senior Dayna Huckabee had other ideas.
Huckabee ripped a three base shot to right plating Cloer with what would be the game-winning run. But Arkansas wasn’t finished.
The two-out rally continued with a single from Samantha Buckner that scored Huckabee with Arkansas’ second run. Junior Hillary Freeman, pinch running for Buckner, moved to second when sophomore Brittany Robison laced a worm-burner up the middle and off the shin of OSU’s pitcher, Sarah Odom. The ball careened out of the circle into shallow right field as the runners were safe.
With runners on, pinch hitter Teighynne Hulsey lifted a double to left center plating two more for Arkansas. The rally continued when sophomore Jessica Bachkora reached on an error but both she and Hulsey would be stranded as OSU got out of the frame.
Hulsey finished the night with two RBIs, while Huckabee and Cloer each had a pair of hits in the win.
The nightcap was equally as dramatic culminating with Tulsa’s game-winner in the top of the seventh inning. Tied at one-all, Henry started the final frame in relief of Dixon. Tulsa’s leadoff hitter Lauren Lindsay launched a 1-1 pitch over the right-center fence for the final run of the night.
“The pitch Katy gave up was up and out of the zone,” said Pinkerton. “She (Lindsay) hit a ball chin high and you have to give her credit. We had opportunity after opportunity in that game but just didn’t come through.”
Arkansas scored first in the bottom of the first inning when Kayla Johnson reached with one out. Johnson stole second and scored on a two-out single to left from Cloer. It would be the Lady’Backs’ only run of the game.
After a 1-2-3 second inning, Arkansas put runners on in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t manufacture a run, stranding five for the game.
Cloer finished the night with a 4-for-6 performance and score one run while Johnson was 3-for-7 with one run in two games.
The Lady Razorbacks return to Southeastern Conference action traveling to Georgia for a three-game series March 29-30. For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.
— LADY RAZORBACKS —