FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team fell 5-1 in the first of a three-game series against No. 24 Auburn in the Southeastern Conference opener on Friday evening. The game was the conference opener for both teams, and Auburn now improved to a 20-2, 1-0 SEC record.
The Razorbacks (9-13, 0-1 SEC) opened with a quick three up and down from sophomore pitcher Hope McLemore (4-5). Linnea Ketcher came to the plate as the leadoff hitter and picked up her eighth stolen base of the season after walking on to first.
"I was pleased with the energy and the attitude from the moment we showed up at the ball park today," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Our defense was stellar tonight, I thought they played great defense. I thought Hope (McLemore) got stronger as the game went on and Jayme Gee just did a great job calling the game and they just got a good rhythm going."
McLemore went the distance in the game and tossed six strikeouts. She allowed just two walks, but took the loss to bring her record to 4-5 on the season.
The Tigers plated the first four of their runs in the top of the second with four runs off four hits. The Razorbacks came back with a big hit double by catcher Jayme Gee to the wall in left-center. Her hit brought in Brittany Griffiths, who reached on an error by shortstop Lauren Guzman.
"The bottom line tonight is, we didn’t hit. You’re not going to win many ball games by getting two hits," Larabee said. "Our short game wasn’t there tonight, we had to two big hits from Jayme and Becca, and that’s pretty much it."
Senior Becca Carden earned the Razorbacks only other hit in the game with a double to the left field wall. She and Gee each collected a double in the game, but it was still not enough to hold off the No. 24 Tigers.
"We’ve really got to come out tomorrow and be aggressive. Tonight, our defense was good, our pitching was good enough to win, but we just didn’t get that big hit," Larabee said.
The Razorbacks can still come back and win the series against Auburn as they take to the field again on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Bogle Park.