OXFORD, Miss. – The Arkansas Razorbacks softball team split the mid-week doubleheader with University of Mississippi with a 4-3 loss in game one, but came back in game two to break the losing streak and pick up a 7-6 win over the Rebels at the Ole Miss Softball Complex in Wednesday evening.
The Razorbacks picked up their first Southeastern Conference win of the season and improve to 10-21 overall and 1-9 in conference play. The Hogs also gave Ole Miss its first league win of the season and the Rebels move to 11-22 overall and 1-7 in SEC competition.
Senior pitcher Kim Jones tallied seven strikeouts in her six innings in the circle during game one against Ole Miss. The senior allowed four runs in the second inning with a solo home run to lead off the second inning. Three base hits and a fielder’s choice brought in two more runs in the inning to give the Rebels a 4-0 start to the game.
"we got behind in game one, and then Jenn Rambo put us a little closer with the big three-run home run," Arkansas head coach Mike Larabee said. "I was kind of disappointed because in the bottom of the sixth, we kind of gave them a run and I really felt like we should have continued to play in that game. It just shows you how you have to take care of the ball."
Jones allowed 10 hits by Ole Miss, but just four runs total in the game. Senior Becca Carden compiled two base hits in game one. She collected her sixth stolen base of the season as well. Sophomore transfer Linnea Ketcher had one hit and one run against the Rebels in game one. She was brought in by freshman Jennifer Rambo who hit a three-run bomb in the seventh close the gap to a one-run game in the last inning.
Rambo’s home run came with two outs in the seventh when she brought in Ketcher and junior Tori Mort. The runs came a bit too late, ass the Razorbacks took the final out with a called strike out to end the game 4-3 for Ole Miss, giving the Rebels their first SEC win of the season.
Arkansas did not waste any time coming up with its first conference win of the year. The Hogs broke a 10-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Ole Miss in game two of the doubleheader on Wednesday.
"It was great to get that first win and get the monkey off our back," Larabee said. "We made it very interesting there at the end. I was just hoping and praying and hopefully now we can take a deep breath a little bit and continue to win."
Chelsea Cohen came in as a relief pitcher for Layne McGuirt in the second inning and pulled the Razorbacks out of a bases loaded, no outs situation. She worked 5.1 innings in the circle and walked just two batters.
Cohen made her first plate appearance this season with a base hit line drive to the left side to bring in two runs and give the Hogs a 4-1 lead over Ole Miss going into the home half of the fourth. Oprzedek came up with a hard-hit double to center. Mort came up next with a fielder’s choice and Cohen was out at home on the play.
Macy Burr came up in the next inning with a slap hit to the pitcher for a single. She picked up her fourth stolen base of the season and was brought home by a sacrifice hit by Rambo.
"Chelsea Cohen came in tonight and she was just amazing," Larabee said. "She came in with that bases loaded situation, two balls, and no strikes and gets us out of the inning. Then she came up with a big hit for us and she was just incredible. I always say, the harder you fall, the higher you bounce and she really bounced back today after a disappointing loss against Mississippi State last weekend."
Arkansas came back up in the top of the sixth with a stolen base by Mort to give her three on the season. Carden came back to the plate and hit her second two-run bomb of the game. Her second home run drove over the left center wall to bring Mort in and tally her fifth homer of the season.
The Razorbacks allowed one to score in the sixth off a double hit to left center and four more runs in the seventh to close the gap to 7-6. A two RBI home run by the first baseman set the tone for a single through the right side in the seventh. The Razorbacks then brought in Jones to close the game for Arkansas. The senior allowed two more runs to score off a single and a double. Oprzedek got the final out of the game with a fielder’s choice out at second.
"I don’t think Alabama is going to respect us as all, but I think that if we play like we did tonight and put the short game together with the long ball and get some timely hitting, you never know what can happen," Larabee said.
The Hogs next face No. 1 Alabama in a three-game series in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The first game is set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25.