SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-Senior third baseman Ashley Carter hit her first home run of the season as the University of Arkansas softball team (15-31) defeated Southwest Missouri State (14-18) 4-0 and fell to the Bears 5-3.
Arkansas softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton said he was happy with how his team fought back in the second game of the doubleheader.
“I was really pleased with the way we bounced back in the second game,” Pinkerton said. “We’re hitting the ball. I see the progress everyday. Up and down the lineup, we did a great job. I was really proud of Valanna (Lyons).”
In nightcap, the game was scoreless until the top of the fifth inning as the Lady’Backs took their first lead of the day, 1-0.
Sophomore right fielder Rachel LeMaster hit a line drive to left field before stealing second and third base. As the Bears tied to throw LeMaster out at third, she scored on a SMS error.
Arkansas added another run in the top of the seventh to lead 2-0. Sophomore second baseman Kallie Foglesong increased her team-high RBI total to 23, when she scored freshman first baseman Samantha Buckner on a double to right center field. Buckner also recorded double.
The Lady’Backs scored two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning on four hits to lead 4-0. Buckner led the way as she hit a single down the right field line, which was her third hit of the game.
Junior pitcher Valanna Lyons (7-14) recorded the win as she had five strikeouts in five and one-thirds innings. Sophomore pitcher Sarah Topham earned her third save of the season.
In the first game, SMS took a 3-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore designed player April Johnson hit a three-run home run.
The Lady’Backs missed a chance to score when they stranded three base runners in the top of the third inning. In that span, Arkansas hit three consecutive infield singles.
In the bottom of the third inning, SMS added two runs to give the Bears a 5-0 lead after a pair of doubles. Topham replaced starting pitcher freshman Katy Henry.
Arkansas loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning on two hits with Carter and freshman shortstop Dayna Huckabee recording singles. Unfortunately, the Lady’Backs left the bases loaded.
The Lady’Backs charged back in dramatic action in the top of the seventh inning when Arkansas scored three runs on three hits.
LeMaster hit a leadoff, infield single that started the Arkansas rally. With two outs, junior catcher Shana Easley singled up the middle scoring LeMaster from second.
Carter then pulled the Lady’Backs within two runs 5-3 with one swing of the ball when she hit a two-run home run over the left field wall.
While Henry (6-11) took the loss, Topham was solid in relief. She did not allow a run and recorded four strikeouts in three and one-third innings.
Offensively, junior center fielder Mindy O’Malley led the Lady’Backs at the plate with three hits including her fourth double of the season.
For more information on Arkansas softball, log on to www.ladybacks.com.