FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – First there was the rally, and then the University of Arkansas softball team had to hold on for the 7-6 win over UMKC Sunday afternoon at Bogle Park. With the victory, Arkansas split a pair of games on the final day of the Razorback Invitational having dropped an earlier 9-2 decision to Drake. In the win, the Razorbacks tallied three home runs with big flies from Laurent Archuleta, Nicole Schroeder and Ashley Diaz.
Arkansas (7-7) continues its 11-game home stand Wednesday with a midweek contest against Oklahoma State. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. (CT) and will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and through the WatchESPN app. The Razorbacks host the Wooo Pig Classic next weekend, welcoming Buffalo, Northern Iowa and Wright State to Bogle Park.
Freshman Ashley Diaz continued her hot start to the season, hitting .900 (9-for-10) during the two-day Razorback Invitational with two home runs and eight RBI. The South El Monte, Calif., raised her batting average from .333 to a team-leading .475 over the course of four games. Teammate and senior Stephanie Canfield recorded her 188th career hit with a single against Drake to move into a tie for eighth place on the program’s all-time hits list.
Game 1: Drake 9, Arkansas 2
The home team jumped out to an early one-run lead after the first inning of its game against Drake. Autumn Russell was in scoring position after a bunt single and stolen base to set the table for Diaz who responded with an RBI hit to center. The Bulldogs pulled even with a run in the top of the second and the score remained tied until the fifth inning. Diaz drove in her second run of the day with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Jessie Mullen from third for a 2-1 lead.
However, Drake plated eight runs over the next two innings including a six-run outburst in the sixth. Through the first fiving innings starter Grace Moll held DU to just one hit before running into trouble in the sixth. The teams finished the game with seven hits apiece but the Bulldogs’ big innings proved to be the difference. Arkansas had runners on base in all but one inning in the game including a bases-loaded situation in the fifth frame.
Game 2: Arkansas 7, UMKC 6
The Razorbacks found themselves in an early hole after the first four hitters for UMKC reached base and came around to score in the first inning. Diaz cut the deficit in the half with a two-run shot to center field in the home half of the first inning; Russell scored ahead of Diaz on the home run. Arkansas continued to benefit from the long ball in the second, this time a solo blast to right center off the bat of Nicole Schroeder to pull to within one on the scoreboard.
The home team took the lead in the bottom of the fourth with RBI hits from Schroeder and Madison Yannetti. Working with a 5-4 lead, starter Claire Clark shook off the rough start to keep the ‘Roos quiet through six innings. UMKC had runners on the corners with one out in the sixth and looked prime to score on a hit to the 5-6 hole but Yannetti dove to her right to glove the grounder and fired a strike to the plate to cut down the would-be scorer.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lauren Archuleta added a pair of insurance scores with the first homer of her career, a two-run shot to left field. Yannetti, who walked ahead of Archuleta in the lineup, scored on the play. The runs came in handy with UMKC putting together a rally in the seventh, getting those two runs back to close the gap to one. But with the bases loaded, Clark got Alex Gale to fly out to Shelby Hiers in left to end the game.
Season tickets are now on sale for $45 through the Razorback Ticket Center. For more information about purchasing season tickets, call 800-982-HOGS (4647) or 479-575-5151, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Razorback Ticket Center located next to Baum Stadium. For more information about Arkansas softball, follow @RazorbackSB on Twitter.