TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Arkansas Razorbacks softball team put up three runs in the third inning, but came up short with a 12-3 final score on Saturday against No. 1 ranked Alabama.
The Razorbacks slip to 1-11 in Southeastern Conference play and 10-23 overall in 2011 after giving five runs on the home half of the first inning to Alabama and three home runs. Arkansas collected three runs off six hits against Alabama’s Kelsi Dunne.
The Hogs tallied two hits and a walk in the first inning with a shot out to right field for senior Becca Carden and a base hit by catcher Jayme Gee. Carden went 2-3 on the day with a single and a home run.
"The positive of the day was that we came out against one of the best pitchers and loaded the bases twice," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Unfortunately we were not able to get that big hit. Alabama got the hits they needed and got up 5-0 in the first. We could have easily quit right there, but we came back with three on the board."
Senior pitcher Kim Jones started in the circle for Arkansas and worked just one third of an inning when she allowed four hits with one three-run home run. Sophomore Hope McLemore came in to relieve the senior and collected inning-closing strikeouts in the first and the second. In her three complete innings, McLemore allowed four hits and walked two.
With a 5-0 ball game in the Razorbacks half of the second, sophomore transfer Linnea Ketcher led off with a base hit to short stop. A walk for junior Brittany Griffiths brought up Carden who smashed a three RBI home run over the right center wall. The bomb brings Carden’s total to six on the season and three in the last three games. She collected two in the Hogs win over Ole Miss. on March 23.
"Our pitchers really have to step up," Larabee said. "I’m not happy with any of our pitchers right now. They have to go in there and compete harder and keep up in some ball games."
Alabama plated three more runs in the second to bring the score to 8-3 off just one hit. Arkansas collected two more base hits in its half of the inning, but left the bases loaded for the second time. The Razorbacks came back defensively with three up-and-down in Alabama’s half of the third.
"It’s kind of been the story of our season so far," Larabee said. "We had the bases loaded with nobody out. We’ve got to get mentally tough and get those big hits when it counts."
Sophomore Amanda Summerford made her debut as a pitcher for the Razorbacks in the fourth inning. Summerford came in with just one out in the inning to close out for Arkansas. She allowed two hits and gave up one run, but got the Razorbacks out of the inning with flies out to Carden in center and Macy Burr in right.
The Razorbacks wrap up the weekend series with top-ranked Alabama on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Razorbacks then head to the 2011 edition of the Border War to face Oklahoma State and Tulsa on Wednesday, March 30.