NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team downed the Fordham Rams, 5-1, on Friday in Norman, Okla.
Arkansas (35-18) used nine hits to score five unanswered runs in the game. The Razorbacks now await the winner of No. 1 Oklahoma and Marist and will play the victor tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
"It’s great to get that first win," head coach Mike Larabee said. "We were anxious to get going, I thought we played a solid game. Our defense was great today and I thought we did a great job of communicating on defense."
Leading the way for the Razorbacks was sophomore pitcher Kimmy Beasley. She pitched a complete game and allowed one run on six hits. She struck out eight batters in the contest to secure the win.
"Kimmy did a great job," coach Larabee said. "In our program we talk about being great in the circle and playing championship defense. We did that tonight and got timely hits. We have been fortunate to have a good pitching staff all year."
Freshman Stephanie Canfield paced the Razorbacks in the batter’s box. She went 3-for-3 and notched an RBI in the game. Also having a nice day at the plate was Devon Wallace. She finished 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, a run scored and an RBI.
"Stephanie really had a nice day at the plate," coach Larabee said. "She had three big hits tonight and manufactured some runs. Devon getting on base is really important, she is a catalyst for us. It was nice to see her get to swing the bat."
Clarisa Navarro finished the game with two RBI. She went 1-for-2 and walked at the plate. Navarro now leads the team with 37 RBI this season.
The game began with Beasley coming out strong. She struck out Jamie Labovick and Chelsea Palumbo on eight pitches. Elise Fortier then put the Rams on the board with a solo-homerun to dead centerfield. Her 20th homerun of the season made the game 1-0 after the top of the first.
Wallace and Navarro led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back walks. Chloe Oprzedek followed the walk with a trot down the first-base line of her own. This loaded the bases for Amanda Geile and she hit into a fielder’s choice. The bases remained loaded but Wallace was thrown out at home on the play. Sierra Bronkey came to the plate and two pitches into her at-bat Fordham starter Jamie Labovick allowed Navarro to cross the plate on an illegal pitch. Two batters later Canfield ripped a single up the middle that scored Oprzedek, but Geile was caught trying to come home from second. Canfield’s 20th RBI of the season gave Arkansas a 2-1 lead.
After a leadoff walk to Michele Daubman, Beasley battled back to strikeout Brianna Turgeon. Four pitches later she got Paige Ortiz to chase a screwball for out number two. Sammi Smith then grounded out to retire the side.
Nicole Schroeder started the bottom of the second with a bloop single to left. Ashley Martindale pinch ran and was called out for leaving early trying to steal second. Jennifer Rambo followed with a single up the middle. However, she was thrown out at second as Jamye Gee grounded into a fielder’s choice. Wallace followed with a two-out double off of the rightfield wall. The two-bagger scored Gee from first and made the score 3-1, Hogs. Navarro followed the RBI with a single up the middle that scored Wallace.
After a scoreless top of the third from Beasley, Canfield notched her second hit of the day. However, her one-out single would leave her stranded at first and the score remained 4-1 into the fourth inning.
Another scoreless inning followed for Beasley, she struck out Turgeon to end the frame. Gee kept the momentum for the Razorbacks into the bottom of the fourth, singling to centerfield. The Hogs left her stranded and the score stood at 4-1.
After a one-out infield single from Smith, Navarro fielded a groundball from Labovick. She stepped on second and fired a ball to first for her second double-play of the evening. This ended the top of the fifth inning.
Canfield continued her excellent day in the bottom of the fifth and ripped a two-out double to rightfield. She advanced to third with an error on the play, but went stranded as Schroeder popped out to end the inning.
Beasley continued to cruise through the sixth inning. After a one-out single from Fortier, she came back to strikeout Gabby Luety. Daubman popped up the next pitch and Wallace caught it in foul territory to retire the side.
Rambo walked to begin the bottom of the sixth and advanced to third two batters later on a Wallace single. She came home on the next pitch as Navarro skied a sacrifice fly to the leftfield warning track. Rambo’s 17th run scored of the season gave the Hogs a 5-1 lead.
The Foreman, Ark. native, Beasley, came back for the seventh inning and slammed the door on the Rams. She walked Daubman to start the inning but then came back to strikeout Turgeon. Ortiz followed with a flyout to center. Beasley then got pinch-hitting Cora Ianiro to chase a rise-ball and end the game.
Next up, the Razorbacks await the winner of No. 1 Oklahoma and Marist. The winner will be decided later tonight, check ArkansasRazorbacks.com for updates. Arkansas will play at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
For more information regarding Razorback softball please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Box Score.pdf