FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team dropped two games to South Carolina in its Southeastern Conference opener Saturday at Lady’Back Yard.
In the SEC doubleheader, the Lady Razorbacks (10-16, 0-2 SEC) had eight hits and four errors against South Carolina (22-3, 2-0 SEC) losing 0-1 and 0-7.
“We kept hitting the bottom half of the ball and didn’t make the adjustments we needed today,” said Pinkerton. “Give credit to the South Carolina pitchers. In the second game we hit the ball a little but just didn’t string them together.”
In game one, 17 of Arkansas’ 21 outs were pop ups, fly balls, or strikeouts.
Freshman Brittany Robison and Jessica Bachkora were the main offensive threats for the Lady’Backs with two hits a piece, one of which was a double for Robison.
Game one got off to a slow start with the first hit of the game coming from Robison in the third inning. She led off with a single to left center, stole second base and was moved to third on a ground ball to the shortstop by junior Samantha Buckner, but was left stranded on third to end the inning.
In the fourth inning, South Carolina’s Melissa Hendon got the Gamecocks’ first hit of the game, a single to right field.
USC put their lone run on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning behind three base hits. Becky Martinez and Jacqueline Wetherbee each singled with one out, then Voigt advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. On two outs, lead-off batter Ashton Payne singled through the right side scoring Martinez for the 1-0 lead.
Robison got herself into scoring position again in the bottom of the fifth with a double to right center. Buckner followed with a one-out walk, but the Gamecock defense kept the Lady’Backs scoreless.
Junior Dayna Huckabee was the only other Lady’Back with a base hit in game one.
Henry earned the loss on the mound pitching a complete game. She allowed one run on six hits and struck out four.
“Katy went out and did what she was supposed to do and held them to one run,” said Pinkerton.
Melissa Hendon got her eighth win of the season in the circle for the Gamecocks, pitching a complete-game shut out and allowing just three hits.
In game two, South Carolina jumped out to a 6-0 lead after six hits and six runs in the second inning.
On one out, two singles and an Arkansas error loaded the bases for the Gamecocks when Wetherbee was hit by the pitch allowing the first run to cross the plate. A two-RBI single by Tori Martin and a three-run home run by Payne put USC up by six.
South Carolina added another run in the third inning when a single up the middle by Payne bounced off of and away from a glove in the Arkansas infield allowing Martin, who reached on a fielder’s choice, to score from second base.
Arkansas had just two runners in scoring position in game two, LeMaster reached second base in the third inning and pinch runner Brandy Foust touched second in the seventh inning.
Freshman pitcher Miranda Dixon picked up the loss allowing six runs. Freshman Teighynne Hulsey relieved Dixon in the second inning allowing one unearned run and striking out a career-high eight batters.
“We needed a good start out of Miranda and we didn’t get it,” said Pinkerton. “We just have to keep sending her out there and eventually she will click. Teighynne is getting stronger every day. I really liked the way she came out. She had the off speed working and did a good job.”
The Lady’Backs face South Carolina at Lady’Back Yard tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the third and final game of the SEC opening series.
For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.