FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas softball team split its two games of the Razorback Fall Festival by downing Pittsburg State, 6-1, and falling to Tulsa, 9-6, Saturday afternoon at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.
"We’re in a situation where we have to get things done and I think we did it today," said Arkansas head coach Jamie Pinkerton. "We started a little sluggish in game one but the bats came alive late. We had a lot of little problems that are fixable, but I’m very happy with our production offensively. We need to get better defensively"
In the opener, Kayla Johnson got the scoring started in the bottom half of the first as she came around to score on her own triple after an error committed by Pittsburg State shortstop Mannie Decastro. Johnson was two-for-four against Pitt State with three runs batted in.
Amie Hubbard came around to score in the bottom of the sixth on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Brandy Baze to put Arkansas on top for good. Hubbard was running in place of freshman Jessica Robison, who led off the sixth with a single and advanced to third on a Miranda Dixon base hit.
The Hogs added four more runs in the sixth on a pair of two-run doubles by Johnson and Tori Mort. Mort was one-for-four with two RBI and a run scored in the contest.
Pittsburg State’s lone run came courtesy of an Annie Thurber single that brought Jessica Jones home in the top half of the fourth. The Gorillas were held to just four hits in the contest, two of which came in the fourth.
Razorback starter Teighynne Hulsey was outstanding inside the circle, pitching five innings, allowing only one run on four hits and striking out one.
"Teighynne (Hulsey) did really well for having not thrown for a while,” Pinkerton said. “I only wanted four out of her today and got five."
Dixon came on in two innings of relief and shut the door on the Gorillas. She allowed no hits, two base runners and struck out one in her two innings of work. She was credited with the win, and also singled in the Arkansas sixth, setting up Brandy Baze’s eventual game-winning effort.
"Miranda is the veteran," Pinkerton said. "She is going to have to hold down this staff. Someone has to step up when you lose a senior who logged 200 innings last year. She’ll be there, and I think the rest of our pitching staff will take care of itself.”
Across the diamond, Pittsburg State starter Erin Destefano was equally as impressive through five, before surrendering five runs to the Razorbacks in the sixth. Prior to the sixth, Destefano allowed one run on five hits, striking out one and walking three. She pitched a complete game in a losing effort, allowing six runs, four earned and nine hits.
In the night-cap, the Arkansas defense showed up early as Mort threw out Tulsa junior Lauren Lindsay at the plate to end the top half of the first.
Tulsa’s Lauren Menke got the scoring started in the second inning with an RBI single that brought Kailey Yarmer home to score. A pitch later, Kelly Chapman came in from third on a wild pitch and Tulsa led, 2-0. The Golden Hurricane plated two more in the top half of the second and stranded the bases loaded.
Tulsa added three runs in the third and took a seven-run lead into Arkansas’ half of the inning.
The Arkansas offense came alive in the third as Mort singled in Jocelyn Moncrief. Johnson then sacrificed Jessica Bachkora home and Sandra Smith smacked a two-run home run onto the berm in left field. Arkansas cut the lead to three, 7-4.
Each team would add two more runs and Tulsa prevailed, 9,6.
"We dug ourselves into a hole and got behind in too many counts,” Pinkerton said. “I’m not pleased with the lost, but we found some things we can work on."
Tulsa defeated Pittsburg St., 3-0, in the midday contest as senior Stephanie Chomicki opened the scoring with a one-out RBI single in the fifth and Tulsa never looked back. Jordan Kinard recorded a complete-game, two-hit shutout.
Pittsburg St. ended the tournament winless, Tulsa was 2-0.
The Razorback Fall Festival is the second of four fall events for the Razorbacks this season. Arkansas will play host to two more events over the next month, both set to be played at Bogle Park. The Hogs will host Drury and Crowder in the Arkansas Fall Invitational next Sunday, Oct. 5. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more details and updated news about Razorback softball.