MIAMI, Fla. A four-run ninth inning lifted the Razorback softball team to a 7-3 win Sunday afternoon over Fordham in the team’s finale of the FAU/FIU Strikeout Cancer Tournament. The victory snaps a four-game skid for Arkansas (7-7) and gives head coach Jamie Pinkerton the 250th win of his career; 110 of those have at the helm of the Razorback program.
The Rams threatened in their half of the first after Kim Jones walked three to load the bases, but the Arkansas starter got Jessica Weckenman to ground out to first base to end the inning.
Arkansas mirrored their opponent’s threat in the top of the second when they loaded the bases. Sandra Smith led off the inning with a single up the middle. Pinch runner Brandy Foust was forced out at second, but Brittany Robison stood on first with the fielder’s choice. Amie Hubbard singled and Jocelyne Moncrief was called safe when the throw from third pulled the first baseman off the bag. With the bases full, Jessica Bachkora knocked a shot to first that was handled for the unassisted out to end the threat.
Jones battled all day, keeping Fordham without a hit through the first four innings. In bottom of the fourth, she fought back from a pair of 3-0 counts to strikeout the final two hitters of the inning. Jones finished the game with five strikeouts, tying a season-high total.
In the bottom of the sixth with the go-ahead run on second for Fordham, Erin Fisher singled to left field, but Moncrief came up throwing with a strike to catcher Whitney Cloer who applied the tag to keep the Rams off the scoreboard.
Griffiths doubled to right center with one out in the top of the seventh and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Hubbard. Moncrief was hit by a pitch to send Bachkora to the plate. Bachkora doubled to bring in Griffiths and Moncrief and give the Razorbacks the 2-0 lead.
Fordham answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a two spot on the scoreboard. Meghan Shager had an infield single in front of Melissa Andrews who deposited a ball over the left field fence to tie the score at two. Miranda Dixon came on in relief of Jones to record the final two outs of the inning and send the game into extras.
With the start of extra-inning play, a runner was placed at second. Bachkora stood at second and was moved over to third by Carden. Dixon lifted a fly ball down the right field line that was caught, but Bachkora tagged up to score and regain the lead for Arkansas.
Once again, the Rams responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs Fisher singled up the middle to bring Richards around from second and extend the game to the nine.
Aided by two Fordham errors and a pair of hits, Arkansas pushed four runs across the plate to take the 7-3 lead. Pinch runner Tori Mort scored the first run of the inning and was followed by Griffiths, Brittany Robison and Hubbard.
Fordham had runners at first and third in its half of the ninth, but Jocelyn Dearborn flied out to Bachkora in center to end the game.
The Hogs return to action next weekend with the home-opening Holiday Inn-NWA Razorback Invitational. The event will be Arkansas’ first on its new home field, Bogle Park. The three-day tournament begins Feb. 27 and along with the Razorbacks, includes teams from Ball State, Bradley, South Dakota State and Wichita State. For more information, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.