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FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team won its final fall tournament Saturday at Lady’Back Yard and finished the fall season 9-0.
Arkansas beat Carl Albert 4-2, Oklahoma Baptist 16-1 and Rogers State 2-0.
“Overall, after a slow start, I thought we came out and played really well,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton.
Arkansas edged Carl Albert in game one.
Senior right fielder Rachel LeMaster led off the ball game slapping for a single. With one down and LeMaster on base, sophomore Sandra Smith laced the ball to the center field fence for an RBI double. Smith scored on a passed ball that resulted in a 2-0 Arkansas lead.
The Lady Razorbacks brought the sticks out in the fourth inning as sophomore Dayna Huckabee and freshmen Teighynne Hulsey and Brittany Robison all collected hits.
Huckabee’s ball hit the left field fence for a double and Hulsey reached on a single to the shortstop. With the bases loaded, Robison singled on a line drive through the left side to score sophomore Whitney Cloer.
Hulsey also scored in the fourth as sophomore Jocelyne Moncrief drew a walk with the bases loaded.
The Lady Vikings managed two runs on three hits in the top of the sixth, but fell short as the Lady’Backs held on for the 4-2 win.
Hulsey earned her third win of the fall and Henry earned her second save.
In game two, a grand slam homerun by Dayna Huckabee sparked a nine-run third inning and a 16-1 Lady Razorback victory over Oklahoma Baptist.
“Huckabee’s homerun broke the game open,” said Pinkerton. “She knew the pressure was on the pitcher and just waited on a pitch and hit it. Those are the kinds of at bats we’re going to have to have during the season.”
Huckabee’s grand slam came after the bases were loaded by three consecutive Lady’Back walks. Three straight Arkansas hits loaded the bases again when Hulsey knocked in two runs with a single through the right side. Smith then singled to right center to drive in two more runs in the third.
Five runs came in the fourth inning behind doubles by Smith and freshman Miranda Dixon.
Arkansas was down 1-0 after the top of the first inning but answered quickly with two runs in the bottom of the first. Smith scored LeMaster on a double off the left center fence and Huckabee hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Smith.
Smith was 2-for-2 with three RBI and two runs. Huckabee and Dixon were 2-for-3 with five and two RBI respectively.
Dixon struck out seven and picked up her third win on the mound.
In the night cap, Katy Henry struck out 12 and pitched her third shutout of the fall as the Lady’Backs defeated Rogers State 2-0.
“Katy Henry did what she had to do for us to be successful,” said Pinkerton. “She’s the anchor and she will lead this young pitching staff in the spring.”
Arkansas took its lead in the first inning as Smith drove in LeMaster with a double.
Rogers State kept the Lady’Backs from scoring again until the fifth inning when freshman Jessica Bachkora led off the inning with a triple to right field. She scored on a wild pitch.
Smith led the Lady Razorbacks in the Arkansas Fall Invitational, hitting .833 with five hits, four of which were doubles, three runs and five RBI.
“Smith is doing what we need her to do,” said Pinkerton. “I think she is coming into her own.”
Huckabee was right behind Smith going 4-for-8 in the tournament with a double, a homerun and five RBI.
“Dayna stepped up today,” Pinkerton said. “She struggled a little the first couple weekends, but came out and hit the ball well today.”
The Lady’Backs open the regular season at the South Florida-Best Western Tournament Feb. 9, in Tampa, Fla.
For tickets and more information about Arkansas softball, please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-BACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.