FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas softball team took an early lead but No. 15/12 Kentucky came away with the 12-4 win Sunday afternoon at Bogle Park. Freshman Ashley Diaz produced her team-leading 13th multi-hit game of the season while fellow freshman Haydi Bugarin picked up her first career RBI in the loss. Arkansas (13-19, 0-6 SEC) resumes its home stand Tuesday with a re-scheduled game against Missouri State.
First pitch of Tuesday’s non-conference game is set for 5 p.m. (CT) at Bogle Park. The game will also be streamed live on SEC Network+ with live stats available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The two teams were originally scheduled to play March 9. Arkansas leads the all-time series, 19-18, and has won five the past six meetings.
Taking advantage of three early Kentucky errors, the Razorbacks jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first without the benefit of a hit. The bases were loaded after Diaz lifted a fly ball to right field that was mishandled. Shelby Hiers, who led off the inning with a walk, came home to score the first run when Bugarin was hit with a pitch from UK starter Shannon Smith. Autumn Russell scored on a passed ball during the next at-bat, while Bugarin and Madison Yannetti came around to score the third and fourth runs on another drop in right field.
With her walk to lead off the game, Hiers has now reached base safely in 20 of the team’s last 21 games including nine in a row. She has been on in 11 of the 12 games since moving to the leadoff spot in the lineup. For Diaz, she collected her 37th and 38th hits of the season. The South El Monte, Calif., native is now hitting .418 this season with a .467 mark in SEC play.
Arkansas starter Grace Moll faced just one over the minimum through three innings, aided by a double play started by Madison Yannetti in the second and Lauren Archuleta throwing out a runner at second in the third. The defense tallied two more double plays Sunday including another standout play by Russell who chased down a runner trying to safely retreat back to second base. The Razorbacks are tied for second in the conference with 17 double plays this year.
After being silenced through three, Kentucky (30-4, 8-1 SEC) broke through with 10 runs during the fourth and fifth innings. The outburst included a two-run shot by Abbey Cheek in the fourth and a grand slam by Christian Stokes in the fifth. The Wildcats added runs in the sixth and seventh on sacrifice flies by Katie Reed to reach their final tally.
Yannetti drew her second walk of the game to leadoff the Razorbacks’ half of the sixth and moved up to second after a two-out walk to pinch hitter Loren Krzysko. However, both runners were stranded to end the inning. Diaz delivered her second hit of the game in the seventh, a one-out single up the middle, and despite a 15-pitch at-bat by Bugarin—the team’s longest of the season—the game ended on a bouncer back to the circle.
For information about purchasing tickets for home games this season, call 800-982-HOGS (4647) or 479-575-5151, email email@example.com or visit the Razorback Ticket Center located next to Baum Stadium. The ticket window at Bogle Park opens one hour before first pitch of each game. Follow @RazorbackSB on Twitter for more information about Arkansas Softball.