FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ bats came to life during Wednesday’s doubleheader to lift the Razorback softball team to a pair of victories over the UMKC Kangaroos at Bogle Park. In the opener, Arkansas came away with a 7-1 triumph and ended the night with a 16-1 win in game two, in which the home team scored a season high and had a season-best 18 hits. The start of the doubleheader was delayed 45 minutes due to afternoon rain showers in the Northwest Arkansas area.In game one, the Razorbacks broke out of a recent offensive slump with seven runs, including a five-run outburst in the bottom of the third. Tori Mort put the home team on the board with a two-run single. Kayla Johnson and Whitney Cloer followed with back-to-back triples, recording an RBI with each swing. Cloer had gone the previous 10 games without an RBI. Miranda Dixon capped the scoring with an infield single and Arkansas led 5-0 after three.The Kangaroos threatened in the top of the fourth with runners on second and third with one out. Arkansas Kim Jones escaped the jam by striking out Rhiannon Mendez and getting Ashley Whiteside to groundout. Jones struck out four batters during the game and earned her 11th complete game in the victory.With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Brittany Griffiths singled to shallow right field to plate pinch runner Lindsey Wells. Amie Hubbard came home for the Razorbacks’ final run when a ball played back in to the infield got loose.The Kangaroos’ run came on a solo home run by Chelsea Hartwig to lead off the top of the sixth.
“We came out a little flat early (in game one) but that could be due to the kids being in finals right now,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “It was good to come out tonight to get good pitching, good defense and great hitting. When you do that, you can pick up two wins.”
UMKC took the early lead in game two on a home run by Betsy Hanley in the top of the first. However, the Razorbacks responded with 16 unanswered runs. Three RBI singles by Johnson, Cloer and Brittany Robison highlighted the inning that saw Arkansas bat around and take the 5-1 advantage after one.
The scoring barrage continued in the second with six Razorback runs. Bachkora, up for the second time in as many innings, singled and stole second to lead off the inning. Mort knocked in the run from second with a double. She was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple. After a pair of singles by Johnson and Cloer, Dixon lined a two-run double into left center. Robison added an RBI single and Griffiths brought in two more with a double to the base of the center field wall. The Razorbacks led, 11-1, after two trips through the lineup.
Dixon, the starter in game two, was effective in the circle against the Kangaroos and recorded the first five outs via a strikeout. She improved her record to 17-10 on the season. Her big blow at the plate came in the bottom of the third when she clubbed a two-run shot to deep left field to extend the Arkansas lead to 13-1. The blast broke Arkansas’ streak of eight games without a home run. Dixon was 2-for-2 with four RBI and two runs scored in game two.
The Hogs tacked on their final three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Hillary Freeman had an infield single which plated Robison. Johnson picked up her second and third RBI of the game with a single up the middle to score Freeman and Becca Carden.
“Now we know what we have to do to earn an NCAA bid,” Pinkerton said. “I think if we win two (against No. 9 Georgia) this weekend, we should be in good position for postseason. The SEC Tournament is like a mini-Regional in itself, so that should get us ready for postseason play, too.”
Arkansas will close out its regular season with a weekend series with No. 9 Georgia at Bogle Park. The three-game set will begin with a doubleheader Saturday which is slated for a 1 p.m. start. Sunday’s series finale, set for an 11 a.m. first pitch, will be preceded by Senior Day festivities. Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information.
Download: Arkansas 7, UMKC 1.pdf