MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – The Lady Razorbacks split their first two games at the University of Minnesota Metrodome Classic, defeating Tennessee Tech 2-1 in the first game but dropping the second game to Northern Iowa 3-0. As a result, the Lady’Backs fall to 6-2 before facing off against Drake tonight for their third game of the day.
Sophomore Miranda Dixon hit a home run over the back of left field to give Arkansas its second run in the sixth inning and eventually the game winner over the 2007 Ohio Valley Conference Champions, Tennessee Tech (1-6). Senior Katy Henry pitched the first game with no errors and allowing only one run. She improves to 5-0 this season.
Both teams were able to advance runners to third base early in the first game but neither team was able to score until the third inning when juniorJocelyne Moncrief scored the first run off a grounder hit by senior Sandra Smith and an overthrown ball to first base. Tennessee Tech answered back in the fifth inning when Beth Boden got on base with a grounder and was then able to score off a double by Lacie Coquerille. With two outs and Coquerille eventually stealing third, Kayla Johnson ended the inning by snagging a deep fly ball in right field.
The sixth inning opened with a home run hit by Dixon, but the remainder of the inning went without hits from either team. What would have been a triple by sophomore Jessica Bachkora in the top of the seventh was ruled a ground-rule double after the ball rolled into the back fence, but she was able to get to third anyways when teammate Johnson also got on base with a hit. Williams attempted to steal second but was ruled out for prematurely leaving first base and Arkansas did not score in the final inning.
Senior Dayna Huckabee had three powerful and accurate throws to Samantha Buckner at first base in the bottom of the seventh inning to seal the victory for the Lady’Backs.
In the second game against Northern Iowa, defense characterized the game with two freshmen Kim Jones and Layne McGuirt pitching for Arkansas, allowing no more than one hit in any of the innings except during the sixth. The Panthers held the Lady’backs to only three hits for the whole game in the first shutout of the season.
Northern Iowa first got on the board in the fourth inning off what was almost a double play when Huckabee caught a line drive off the bat of Crystal Keiper, but the throw came up just short and allowed UNI’s Jen Larsen to advance from first to third base as the Lady’Backs recovered control of the ball. Morgan Paulson then hit a ball into deep right field allowing Larsen to come home bringing the score to 1-0.
In the bottom of the fifth inning Buckner attempted to tie it up with a ball hit deep into left field but came up just short of the fence. Northern Iowa then delivered what would become the final blows with a home run from Ashley Lepley followed by another deep ball by Keiper bouncing off the fence and allowing Larsen to come in for the RBI.
A bizarre call reversal occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs when Kayla Johnson hit a ball down the first base line and the first baseman tagged her out and both teams returned to their dugouts. The umpire then reversed his call and said the ball was actually foul and both teams returned to the field. Unfortunately, it was not enough as the Lady’Backs were unable to get any more hits and they lost their second game of the season.
“Today we cleaned up on defense with onlyone error in each game and Katy (Larsen) pitched excellent,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “We struggled adjusting at the plate and we will look to get better in all facets offensively.”
The Lady’Backs take on the Bulldogs of Drake University (1-0) tonight in the third game of the University of Minnesota Metrodome Classic. For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM