GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Facing the top-ranked team in the country, the Arkansas softball team dropped a pair of games Saturday to Florida by identical scores of 11-0. However, the day wasn’t a total loss as the Razorbacks clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament via a Kentucky win over Mississippi State. It will be Arkansas’ second trip to the conference tournament under head coach Jamie Pinkerton.
The Razorbacks were limited to two hits in each game by a stingy Gator pitching staff. The setbacks send Arkansas to a season-high sixth consecutive loss.Sophomore pitcher Layne McGuirt made her first start of the season in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader. She walked the first batter of the game, Aja Paculba, but retired the next two hitters before Francesca Enea put the Gators on top with a two-run shot.In the bottom of the second, Florida extended its lead to 7-0 with five runs crossing the plate. The first six hitters of the inning reached bases via three walks and three singles. Kim Jones entered the game in relief before McGuirt recorded an out.Arkansas put a runner on in each of the first three innings of game one, but weren’t able to capitalize. Tori Mort and Amie Hubbard reached on infield singles in the first and second, respectively, while Jocelyne Moncrief led off the third inning with a walk. In each case, Gator starter Stacey Nelson responded to quiet any chance of an Arkansas threat.Florida put the game away with a pair of runs in the third, both on a two-run double by Kelsey Bruder. Paculba and Kristina Hilbreth came around to score on the two-base hit. In the bottom of the fourth, Kim Walezonia, out of the UF lineup since Feb. 28 due to injury, had a pinch-hit single to plate the final two runs of the game for the home team.Game two got off to a start similar to that of the first. Mort was the first base runner of game two with a walk from Nelson, but the Razorbacks stranded the runner. And just like they did in the first game, the Gators jumped out to a 2-0 after one inning of play lead after a pair of RBI hits by Kristina Gardiner and Bruder.Miranda Dixon, the game-two starter for Arkansas, led off the second with a single to shallow right field, but Nelson retired the next three Razorback hitters to erase a scoring chance.Florida padded its lead with a six-run spurt in its half of the second. With two runs already across the plate and the bases full of Gators, Bruder belted a grand slam to left field, her 12th home run of the season. McGuirt made her second appearance of the day in relief of Dixon.The scoring continued in the third for the nation’s top-ranked team when Gardiner lifted a three-run shot over the fence in left field. Florida led, 11-0, heading to the top of the fourth.Sandra Smith picked up the Razorbacks’ fourth hit of the game, a line-drive single to left field in the top of the fifth.Sunday’s series finale between the Razorbacks and No. 1 Florida is slated for a noon (CT) start from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville. The SEC contest will be broadcast on KXUA (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, which will also carry the game’s live stats.
Download: Florida 11, Arkansas 0(1).pdf