FULLERTON, Calif. – The University of Arkansas softball team opened play at the Easton Tournament with a come-from-behind win but ultimately posted a split Friday evening at the weekend event. With the results, the Razorbacks are now 12-14 on the season with three games remaining in Fullerton. Arkansas returns to the fields Saturday for games against No. 23 Nebraska at 5:30 p.m. (CT) and host Cal State Fullerton at 8:30 p.m.
Game 1 – Arkansas 4, New Mexico 3 (8 innings)
In the second meeting between the two teams this year, the Razorbacks rallied from an early three-run deficit to post a 4-3 win over New Mexico in eight innings. Cooper was 3-for-4 at the dish including the game-tying and game-winning hits in the sixth and eighth-innings, respectively. Grace Moll tied her career high with nine strikeouts and picked up her eighth win of the season with a complete-game performance.
With runs in the first and third inning, the Lobos led 3-0 after three innings. Having generated just one hit in the first time through the line-up, Arkansas got on the board in the fourth inning, capping the scoring with an RBI double by Cooper. She drove in three of the Razorbacks’ four runs; the team also scored an unearned run in the fourth ahead of Cooper’s double. She came through again with a game-tying solo shot to left in the sixth inning, her third home run of the year.
Playing by international tiebreaker rules—runner placed on second to start the inning—Moll got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by inducing a tapper back to the circle which she flipped to first for the final out. Autumn Russell, the runner at second in the home half of the eighth, stood at third with two outs when Cooper stepped in. The Nederland, Texas, native delivered with an infield single to second that plated the game-winning run.
Game 2 – UNLV 11, Arkansas 4
As the visitors on the scoreboard, the Razorbacks scored first with two runs in the top of the first inning. Shelby Hiers opened the game with her fourth double of the year, a gap shot to the fence in left center. Standing on third after a fielder’s choice, she trotted home on an errant throw down to second attempting to catch Russell stealing. With one out, Rachel Box dropped a single into shallow right field to collect her first of two RBIs in the game.
After a three-run inning of its own in the first, UNLV took advantage of some defensive miscues by the Razorbacks to score three more runs and take a 6-3 lead after three innings. Box picked up her second RBI with a base hit up the middle in the top of the third, scoring Russell for the second time in the game. The Rebels, however, scored three more runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to get within reach of a run-rule victory.
Arkansas pushed a run across the plate in the sixth inning. In a pinch hitting role, Haydi Bugarin registered her first-career hit with a one-out single to left and moved up to second when Hiers was walked. On an attempt to complete a line-drive double play, an errant throw rolled all the way to the wall which allowed Bugarin to come around from second to score the Razorbacks’ fourth run. But the play marked the end of the team’s scoring and UNLV tacked on another to come away with the 11-4 victory.
Following this weekend’s Easton Tournament, the Razorbacks will return to Fayetteville for their Southeastern Conference home opener March 25-27 when they host No. 15 Kentucky at Bogle Park. Saturday’s game of the Arkansas-Kentucky series will be televised on the SEC Network. All games of the SEC matchup will be streamed on SEC Network+ and through the WatchESPN app.
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.