FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas senior Katy Henry led the Lady Razorback softball team to an upset of No. 11 Oklahoma, 3-2, on Monday evening at Lady’Back Yard. Arkansas dropped the nightcap 3-2 in eight innings.
The Lady’Backs (29-17) defeated the Sooners (32-9) for the first time in school history behind a complete-game win in the circle from Henry. The Poteau, Okla., native held OU to two runs and picked up her 15th win of the year and second against a ranked opponent.
“With the storied program and tradition that OU has, that’s a big win for us,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “We have 13 players from Oklahoma and it was an opportunity for them to play against their home state school and they got fired up for it. I can’t say enough about our pitching tonight. Our pitchers were phenomenal to come in and hold Oklahoma to nine hits in two games. I’m happy with the way we played.”
Arkansas got out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first off the bats of junior Kayla Johnson and sophomore Sandra Smith. Johnson doubled to right field and junior Whitney Cloer was hit by the pitch to put runners on first and second before Smith hit a worm-burner up the middle to plate Johnson.
Sophomore Miranda Dixon was hit by the pitch to lead off the fourth frame. Senior Dayna Huckabee followed with a three-base shot down the right-field line to score pinch runner Amie Hubbard from first. Senior Samantha Buckner was hit by the pitch to put runners on first and third and mark the 30th batter Oklahoma pitcher D.J. Mathis hit this year. The Lady’Backs went up 3-0 when Huckabee crossed the plate off of a fielder’s choice to the middle infield by sophomore Brittany Robison.
After five scoreless innings, Oklahoma’s Samantha Ricketts hit a home run to right center with Amber Flores on base to bring the Sooners within one run, 3-2.
OU had two runners on with one out in the top of the seventh, but a line drive catch that brought Bachkora to her knees and Henry’s sixth strikeout put the game away. Oklahoma had runners in scoring position just four times all game.
Henry improved to 15-8 on the mound while Mathis threw four innings to fall to 20-4 in the circle.
Arkansas broke the nightcap open in the third inning. Johnson led off with a line-drive double to left center before Cloer sacrificed her to third. A wild pitch with Smith at bat scored Johnson standing up and got the Lady’Backs out to a 1-0 lead.
The Sooners took came back with two runs in the top of the fourth. Lead-off batter Flores reached on an infield error and a speedy Savannah Long bunted for a single before Susan Ogden sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Ricketts plated Flores on a sacrifice fly to center field and Traci Dickenson scored Long on a single up the middle to put OU up 2-1.
Bachkora evened the score at two apiece in the bottom of the fourth with her first career home run, a solo shot to right field.
After three scoreless frames, the game moved to extra innings with the tiebreaker rule in effect in the eighth.
Oklahoma’s Iver McDonald was placed on second to begin the inning. Wendy Trott led off and reached on a passed ball before both runners were sacrificed over. An infield groundout by Haley Anderson scored McDonald from third to take the 3-2 lead.
Huckabee started on second in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs freshman Leslie Dixon entered the game to pinch hit and laced a single through the right side. Huckabee was on a dead sprint for the plate, but an accurate throw, catch and tag at the plate by OU ended Arkansas’ hope of a two-game upset.
Miranda Dixon (10-8) held Oklahoma to just three hits and three unearned runs in a disappointing loss. Mathis (21-4) redeemed herself in the nightcap throwing four innings and allowing just two hits with four K’s to pick up the win.
Arkansas returns to Lady’Back Yard on Thursday to finish out its seven-game home stretch with the Kansas Jayhawks. The doubleheader begins at 3 p.m.
For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.