LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Arkansas sisters Miranda and Leslie Dixon both had game-winning hits to lead the Lady Razorbacks to two Southeastern Conference victories on Saturday against Kentucky at the UK Softball Complex in Lexington, Ky.
Arkansas battled to a 6-5, nine-inning win in the first game, followed by a 3-0 shutout in the second. Arkansas improved to 31-18 overall and 4-12 in the SEC while the Wildcats fell to 15-26 and 3-13 in league play.
Miranda Dixon’s game-winner came in the first contest. With the score even at 5-5 in the top of the ninth, a two-out single through the left side by Dixon scored junior Jocelyne Moncrief and gave the Lady’Backs a 6-5 lead.
Leslie Dixon launched her first career home run, a solo shot to left field in the top of the third to get Arkansas out to a 1-0 lead in game two. Miranda Dixon threw her second shutout of the year, allowing just two hits in a complete-game win.
“These were two huge games for us,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “In the first game it seemed like we were on the ropes and waiting for Kentucky to land the knockout blow and we survived. We weren’t sharp, but I was pleased with the way the players battled. Late in the game we did what we had to do to get it tied and win in extra innings.”
Arkansas jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning behind the bat of senior Dayna Huckabee. Junior Kayla Johnson reached on an error with one out and advanced to second on a single through the right side by Miranda Dixon. With two on and two out, Huckabee laced a double over the head of right fielder Audrey Meyer to score Johnson from second for the first Lady’Back run of the day.
Johnson led off the top of the third inning with a solo home run to left center, marking her eighth of the year to put Arkansas up 2-0.
Kentucky hit four singles and plated three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 3-2 lead.
The Wildcats increased their lead in the fifth behind two Arkansas errors. Meyer reached on a fielding error and scored from third on a dropped fly ball to put Kentucky up by two, 4-2.
Sophomore Sandra Smith cut the lead to one run after hitting her 13th home run of the year, a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the sixth.
Ashley Dimkich was hit by the pitch to reach base in the bottom of the inning. After being sacrificed to second, she advanced to third on a groundout and scored on an Arkansas error to put the Wildcats up 5-3.
In the top of the seventh Moncrief singled to left field with one out. A double to right center by sophomore Jessica Bachkora put two runners in scoring position before Johnson ripped a double down the left field line that tied the game at five apiece and forced extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Moncrief singled up the middle for her third hit of the day. She was sacrificed to second by Bachkora and moved to third on a groundout by Johnson before Miranda Dixon hit the game winner.
In the bottom of the ninth, Kentucky got two runners on with two outs, but senior Katy Henry ended the game with her 10th strikeout.
Henry threw all nine innings to earn her 16th win of the year. She allowed five runs, just two earned, five hits and walked four.
Leslie Dixon’s home run got Arkansas out to a 1-0 lead in the first before Miranda Dixon added a run in the sixth with a solo homer to center field for her 10th home run of the year.
Another solo shot, this time by Buckner in the top of the seventh increased the Lady’Backs lead to 3-0.
Miranda Dixon kept the Wildcats’ bats quiet from the circle allowing just two hits. She allowed just five hits in her last two outings.
“In game two Miranda just built off of her Oklahoma game and was outstanding,” said Pinkerton. “When her pitches move like that, she’s tough. We also stayed down on the ball and made good defensive plays.”
Moncrief tallied three hits and two runs to lead the Lady’Backs with a .600 average. Johnson was 3-for-7 with a double, a home run, two runs and three RBI. Miranda Dixon followed with a .375 average, three hits, a home run and two RBI.
Lady’Back pitchers Henry and Miranda Dixon gave up just two earned runs and combined for a 0.88 ERA in the doubleheader.
Arkansas plays the final game of the series against Kentucky tomorrow at noon.
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