STARKVILLE, Miss.-Senior third baseman Ashley Carter hit her second home run of the week as the University of Arkansas softball team (15-33, 1-18) fell to Mississippi State (28-22, 8-13) 5-4 and 1-0.
Arkansas softball coach Jamie Pinkerton said he was happy with the Lady Razorbacks production at the plate but the performances in the circle need to improve.
“I was pleased we hit the ball,” Pinkerton said. “The offense is coming around. We did everything we had to do but close the deal on the mound. When three walks score, you’re not going to win games.”
In game one, Arkansas scored first as the Lady’Backs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning on junior catcher Shana Easley’s two-RBI double to center field.
Sophomore right fielder Rachel LeMaster began the rally with a right field single. Then Carter followed with a walk.
After LeMaster and Carter advanced on stolen bases and a passed ball, the pair was in scoring position when Easley hit her sixth double of the season.
The Lady’Back offense continued in the top of the fourth when Arkansas started the inning with freshman shortstop Dayna Huckabee and sophomore second baseman Kallie Foglesong singles forcing starting pitcher sophomore Stephanie Comeaux out of the game.
After a textbook sacrifice bunt, junior designated player Barbara-Jean Southmayd advanced the base runners into scoring position. Sophomore pinch hitter Sarah Topham hit a long fly ball to center field allowing Huckabee to score on the sacrifice giving the Lady’Backs a 3-0 lead.
Mississippi State answered in the bottom of the fourth inning with four runs on two hits, one error and four walks to lead 4-3.
Junior pitcher Valanna Lyons was replaced in the bottom of the fourth inning with freshmen pitchers Kelly Ninemire and Katy Henry throwing in relief.
Trailing 5-3 in the top of the seventh inning, Carter hit her second home run of the season that was a solo shot over the left field wall.
The second game was scoreless until the fourth inning, when Mississippi State took a 1-0 lead on two hits and one error.
The pitchers controlled the game as only 11 total hits were given up. Starting pitcher Topham, in her first start since February, threw five innings only giving up four hits.
Pinkerton said he was pleased with the pitching in the second game but the Lady’Backs stranded seven runners on base.
“Sarah comes out and does an excellent job,” Pinkerton said. “Katy was good in relief. They (Mississippi State) scratched out a run and we left too many runners.”
For more information on Arkansas softball, log on to www.ladybacks.com.