MINNEAPOLIS – Two Arkansas home runs and strong pitching throughout led the Razorbacks to a 4-2 victory over Iowa State on Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome Classic.
Shortstop Brittany Griffiths provided a two-run blast while designated player Miranda Dixon added a solo shot for Arkansas (2-3). Razorback pitchers Layne McGuirt and Hope McLemore combined to limit the Iowa State (2-3) to two runs on 11 hits.
"It is always nice to leave a tournament on a win," Arkansas coach Mike Larabee said. "I thought Layne did an unbelievable job today. She went six innings and did not want to come out of the game. She had good command all day. Hope come in, shut the door, and showed a lot of poise as a freshman. She did her job. I moved Brittany Griffiths to the fifth spot in the lineup today and she really responded with the big home run and played well defensively.
"As a team we did not make any errors today and that had been our Achilles heel this weekend. In a couple of those close games that we lost, we beat ourselves. Overall, we are getting there slowly but surely. We are learning on the run. It is great to come home with a win over a Big 12 team."
Arkansas took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Dixon got the scoring started with an RBI single up the middle to drive in center fielder Jessica Bachkora who reached on a single leading off the game. Griffiths added to the lead with her first home run of the season, a two-run blast over the wall in left-center field. Dixon and Griffiths combined to go 4-for-6 with four RBIs and two home runs.
Dixon’s solo home run in the top of the third inning extended the Arkansas lead to 4-0. The homer was her second of the season.
Iowa State pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 4-2. With runners on second and third, back-to-back singles off the bats of center fielder Kelsey Kidwell and right fielder Heidi Kidwell cut the Razorback advantage in half.
McGruirt (1-0) allowed two runs on 10 hits in six innings, while striking out three. She did not issue a walk. McLemore pitched a scoreless seventh to earn her first career save.
ISU starting pitcher Rachel Zabriskie (2-3) surrendered four runs on six hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts.
Arkansas hit .242 as a team during the three-day tournament. Bachkora paced the Razorbacks with a .500 average (8-for-16) and six runs scored. Dixon led the team with two home runs and six RBIs.
The Razorbacks staff ERA was 2.08 and the hurlers struck out 23 batters while issuing only seven walks.
Arkansas returns to action Feb. 19-21 at the North Texas/Sleep Inn Classic in Denton, Texas. Arkansas will take on teams from Sam Houston State, Missouri State, Buffalo, Drake and host North Texas.