TAMPA, Fla. – The Arkansas Razorbacks (7-10) struggled in the first day of the University of South Florida Under Armour Invitational with a 3-2 loss to Ball State followed by a 2-0 defeat by host USF on Friday.
Arkansas’ first loss of the weekend began with the Razorbacks getting on the board in the first inning. After getting on base with a walk, sophomore Linnea Ketcher earned her first stolen base of the day and cleared the bases on a passed ball and wild pitch to plate the Hogs first run.
"The real positive of today was that we had a great pitching performance by Layne McGuirt," head coach Mike Larabee said. "Unfortunately we left 13 runners on base and their pitcher walked eight betters. We just did not take advantage of the opportunities that they gave us. "
An error by BSU’s third baseman brought around sophomore Courtney Breault to plate the Hogs second run after reaching first on a walk. The Razorbacks collected two more hits in the third from Stephanie Brewer and Jennifer Rambo.
Ball State picked up a solo home run in the second off the inning’s lead-off hitter and came back to answer the Hogs run in the third with a run of their its own. Two singles and three stolen bases in the inning gave BSU an edge on the Razorbacks after three complete innings.
BSU kept the Hogs scoreless the rest of the game and collected the game winning run in the bottom of the sixth off a single up the middle.
"Our pitching and defense was outstanding, but our offense was well below average today," Larabee said.
Layne McGuirt allowed seven hits on the day with four strikeouts and just two walks.
Arkansas struggled to get on board with six hits and eight left on base. Macy Burr and Ketcher started off the first inning with singles. Burr got a bunt down the third base line and was brought around to second on a single to the same spot by Ketcher.
The second inning brought two more hits for the Razorbacks, but still could not plate a run. Sophomore Courtney Breault was the only Razorback to get a hit in the third with a double to right center. Arkansas continued with two more hits in the game.
"We just couldn’t get that big hit in the second game today," Larabee said. "Kim Jones gave up a 0-2 hit, which we don’t like to see. A little blooper over the shortstop’s head, and that was kind of the difference in the game."
Senior hurler Kim Jones went the distance against the Bulls. She tallied six strikeouts and just two walks. Her work was not enough to keep the Razorbacks in the game as the team left eight runners on base against USF.
"Hitting is contagious. We need to come out tomorrow and just get a couple hits going," Larabee said. "We have a good hitting team and we just have to get back on track."
Arkansas gets back on the field on Saturday morning against East Tennessee State 11:30, followed by No. 8 Michigan at 4:40 CT, in Clearwater, Fla.