LINCOLN, NEB. – University of Arkansas sophomore Whitney Cloer hit two home runs against Nebraska, including a game-winning blast in the sixth inning, to give the Lady Razorbacks the 5-4 win over Nebraska Sunday in the final game of the Big Red Tournament.
Arkansas (11-23) hit three home runs against the Huskers (20-8), snapping their 12-game winning streak.
Junior Dayna Huckabee tied the career home run record with a two-out, two-run shot to center field in the first
inning. Cloer put the Lady’Backs up 3-0 with a solo home run to left field in the second inning and homered again in the top of the sixth inning, this time a two-out, two-run shot to right center, putting the Lady’Backs up 5-3.
“The last two days we’re starting to hit the ball better,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “If we can get all three assets together I still think this team is a good team. We had a key hit from Huckabee and two key hits from Cloer. The thing is we got players on in front of them. If we can continue hitting as a team we’re going to be fine.”
After the Lady’Backs jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Nebraska evened the score 3-3 in the fourth inning. Crystal Carwile led off the inning with a double to right center. Two Arkansas errors allowed one run two score before a fielder’s choice and a single through the right side scored two more runs.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, after Cloer homered to put Arkansas up 5-3, Haley Long put the Huskers’ within one run of Arkansas, 5-4, after a sacrifice fly to left field.
Dixon started in the circle for the Lady’Backs pitching six innings before she was relieved by junior Katy Henry. Dixon picked up her third win giving up just one earned run all tournament. Henry earned her second save of the year, pitching the final inning.
“Two outings in a row Miranda’s thrown well,” said Pinkerton.
In game one, North Dakota State took the 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning after two, two-RBI doubles by Lynnae Foshag and Jackie Currie.
The Lady’Backs cut down the lead by two runs in the bottom of the inning behind singles by senior Rachel LeMaster, Huckabee and Cloer. Huckabee drove in LeMaster from second base with a shot up the middle and Cloer singled through the left side scoring Dixon who reached base on an error.
The Bison regained a four-run lead in the fifth. Grete Peterson singled on a bunt to lead off the inning and scored on a single by Kelly Cantrell. Melissa Chmielewski followed with an RBI single up the middle scoring Cantrell.
Arkansas added one run in the bottom of the fifth, narrowing NDSU’s lead 6-3. LeMaster led-off with an infield single and advanced to third as Dixon reached on another error. Huckabee then sailed a fly ball into centerfield, scoring LeMaster on the sacrifice fly.
The Lady’Backs continued to chip away at North Dakota State’s lead with two runs on two outs in the sixth. Dixon singled through the left side scoring sophomore Dara Clark. Clark pinch ran for junior Samantha Buckner who reached on a lead-off walk. Huckabee got her third RBI of the game with a single over the third-base bag, scoring Bachkora who also singled in the inning.
A one-two-three seventh inning stopped the Lady’Backs short of a comeback as they lost 6-5.
“We played well in the first game even though we lost,” said Pinkerton. “I was really proud of the way the players came out and fought and battled and these are the types of games we’ve got to learn how to win. This is going to be good momentum to take into the doubleheader at Alabama.”
The Lady’Backs return to the diamond on Wednesday, traveling to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face No. 2 Alabama.
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