TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The University of Arkansas softball team fell to the No. 20 Hofstra Pride, 8-1 and the No. 25 Florida State Seminoles, 9-1, in five innings on Friday in Tallahassee, Fla. at the Unconquered Invitational.
Arkansas faced one of the best pitchers in the nation in game one, Olivia Gala¬¬¬ti. She led the country in ERA in 2012 with a 0.95 mark. The Razorbacks were able to muster four hits and score one run on a Devon Wallace solo homerun against Galati as she collected the win. This was Hofstra’s first game of 2013.
The hit plague continued in game two as Arkansas left seven runners on base against the Florida State Seminoles (5-1). Amanda Geile had a single in the game, giving her two hits on the day. Head coach Mike Larabee is confident that the team will improve tomorrow.
"We had runners on base," Larabee said. "We just need a couple base hits and we are back in the ballgame. We haven’t got that clutch hit when we need to. We made a couple defensive plays, but all in all I was disappointed. The nice thing is that tomorrow is a new day. We have Tulsa in the morning, it is going to be tough competition, but if we get two wins tomorrow, we can be in the championship game."
Game one on Friday against the Hofstra Pride (1-0) saw the Razorbacks registering their first two hits in the second inning, a pair of singles to left field by Geile and Jayme Gee. Unfortunately the Hogs were unable to plate either runner.
In the bottom half of the inning the Pride jumped out to an early lead on a Jess Hirschbuhl two-run homerun to dead centerfield. Starting pitcher Kimmy Beasley was able to compose herself and get out of the inning, only allowing two runs.
Wallace answered in the third with a solo homerun of her own, making the score 2-1. Stephanie Canfield followed the solo shot with a single up the middle; this extended an eight-game hit streak to start her college career.
Hofstra scored again in the bottom of the third when Chloe Fitzgerald crossed the plate as Becca Bigler was walked with the bases loaded. Kelly Young was then inserted into the game facing the bases loaded with zero outs. Young was benefited by a double play from Clarisa Navarro at shortstop. She was able to tag the runner and throw out Tessa Ziemba for the second out. Hofstra scored its fourth run on the play as Alyssa Cuzzola scored on the groundout. Young then got Caryn Bailey to groundout and escaped the inning only giving up one run.
The Pride notched three more runs on a two-out, bases loaded double by Bailey. Hofstra led at the end of the fifth 8-1. Young gave up four unearned runs in the fifth after two errors hurt the Hogs. Young finished her the game with 0 earned runs allowed, giving up one hit, while striking out three in four innings pitched. Arkansas dropped game one, 8-1.
The latter game of the day pitted Arkansas against Florida State. The Seminoles scored the first runs of the game on a three-run double from Maddie O’Brian in the first inning off of starter Chelsea Cohen, who came into the game with three wins in three appearances.
Coach Larabee immediately went back to his freshman, Kelly Young, in the second inning. She was able to retire three of the next four batters that she faced. The inning was ended with a fantastic stab by third-baseman Chloe Oprzedek.
Oprzedek carried the defensive momentum into the top half of the third inning as she lined a double down the rightfield line. However, Arkansas was unable to hit her home, with back-to-back groundouts from Wallace and Canfield.
The ‘Noles scored three more unearned runs with two outs in the fourth, Kristin Austin highlighted the inning with a two-run single.
Sierra Bronkey cut into the lead with a two-out, bases loaded, walk as she stayed patient at the plate and Geile scored on the play. Arkansas had the bases loaded for Oprzedek but she was unable to deliver and Arkansas left all three runners on base and the score stood at 7-1, FSU.
Cohen back came in to pitch the fourth inning and retired the side in the fourth. She gave up a solo homerun to Courtney Senas in the fifth, giving the Seminoles an 8-1 lead. FSU ended the game two batters later as a ball got away from catcher Morgan Clark and Tiffani Brown scored her first run of the game. Arkansas fell to Florida State, 9-1, in five innings.
Next up, the Razorbacks will take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday Feb. 16. After round robin play has concluded the team will be seeded according to its play in the Invitational. Arkansas will then play at 1:30 p.m. CT in the No. 1 vs. No. 4 seed game or will follow that game in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 seed game.