FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning and the score tied, Jessica Bachkora hit a game-winning home run Sunday in the Razorbacks’ 4-3 win over Kentucky at Bogle Park. The victory gives Arkansas (18-10, 7-1) the series win, its third consecutive to start the SEC season. Whitney Cloer also knocked a home run in the game, her third of the weekend, and Miranda Dixon picked up her 11th win of the season.
“It’s good to get our third series win of the season,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “When you’re trying to place yourself in the field of the SEC Tournament and an NCAA Regional, it’s good to get series wins. (Chanda Bell) is a very good pitcher for Kentucky and we came back after a loss yesterday to get the best of her. We were able to capitalize on the opportunities we had with four runs on only three hits. It’s not very often we like to live by the long but today, I’m glad we did.”
As they did in both games Saturday, the Wildcats jumped out to an early lead with a run in the first inning. Molly Johnson led off the game with a solo shot to left field. Johnson scored again in the top of the third on an RBI double by Megan Yocke to give Kentucky (18-8, 5-4) a 2-0 lead after its half of the third.
Bachkora started a rally in the bottom of the third with a two-out walk. She stole second base and came around to score on a double to the base of the center-field wall by Tori Mort. With Mort on second, Cloer drove a Bell pitch over the wall in left field to put Arkansas ahead, 3-2. The senior catcher finished the weekend with six RBI against Kentucky.
The visitors came right back with a run in top of the fourth to tie the score. Natalie Smith reached on an error at first base and advanced to second base. After a wild pitch by Dixon, Smith stood on third and crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Samantha DeMartine.
Arkansas’ half of the fifth started quietly with a fly out by Brittany Robison and a Brittany Griffiths strikeout. Bachkora continued to thrive with two outs as her solo home run to right field gave her team the 4-3 lead. It was the fifth home run of the season for the junior outfielder. Bachkora entered the season with one career round tripper.
Dixon retired Kentucky in order in the top of the sixth and struck out the first two batters of the seventh. Johnson picked up her fourth hit of the game to keep the Wildcat hopes alive, but Dixon got Meagan Aull to ground out to Sandra Smith at first to end the game.
For the second consecutive series, Dixon has won two games and is now 5-0 in SEC play. The Razorbacks have won six straight series against Kentucky.
Arkansas next travels to Knoxville for a mid-week set with Tennessee at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. The doubleheader is scheduled for Wednesday with a 3 p.m. (CT) start. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information.
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