FAYETTEVILLE-The University of Arkansas softball team opened the fall season in style with three wins in the Arkansas Fall Festival, Saturday, Sept. 17, at Lady’Back Yard.
The Lady Razorbacks defeated Crowder College 13-0 in five innings, Evangel University 4-0, and Neosho County Community College 8-0 in six innings.
Arkansas softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton said he was happy with the Lady’Backs performance in the festival particularly the pitching staff that didn’t allow a run.
“Overall, I was extremely pleased with Kayce (Odle), Katy (Henry) and Blaire (Perry) especially Blaire since she hasn’t pitched in a couple of years,” Pinkerton said. “I was pleased with all three facets of the game. Pitching, hitting and defense were good.”
The Arkansas offense lit up the scoreboard in game one as the Lady’Backs run-ruled Crowder 13-0 on nine hits in five innings.
Pinkerton said he was happy with the debut of the 11 newest members of the Lady’Back squad, which includes nine freshman and two junior college transfers. All 11 newcomers saw action in the first game.
“It was good to finally play someone besides ourselves,” Pinkerton said. “It was good for the newcomers to get the first game jitters out.”
Senior outfielder Mindy O’Malley, senior catcher Shana Easley and freshman infielder Sandra Smith led the Lady’Backs as they each recorded a double with Smith tallying a game-high four RBIs. Contributing to the Lady’Back offense, freshman outfielder Jocelyne Moncrief led the squad with two hits.
Pinkerton said he was delighted with the Lady’Back offensive production that was balanced and effective throughout the festival.
“I was pleased with Jocelyne Moncrief who was a catalyst,” Pinkerton said. “And I was happy with Sandra Smith and Meagan Harney who between them had seven of the 12 RBIs. Overall, it was a good team effort.”
Arkansas didn’t waste anytime jumping on the scoreboard when the Lady’Backs took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Lady’Backs added two runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-0 lead before they scored nine runs in the fourth inning.
Junior pitcher Kayce Odle dominated the game as she earned her first Lady’Back win. Odle recorded nine strikeouts while allowing three hits in five innings.
“I was pleased with Kayce Odle,” Pinkerton said. “I liked her command and presence.”
In the Lady’Backs second game, Arkansas scored two runs in the third inning to lead Evangel 3-0 as freshman catcher Whitney Cloer hit the first triple of the fall. Cloer’s two-out drive scored sophomore infielder Dayna Huckabee from first base and sparked the offense.
Sophomore infielder Samantha Buckner followed with a double to score Cloer. Freshman infielder Brandy Baze and senior outfielder Blaire Perry added singles.
Arkansas tallied another run on three hits to lead the Lady Crusaders 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Baze, Buckner and Perry led the Lady’Backs with two hits.
Sophomore pitcher Katy Henry was a force in the circle recording nine strikeouts while giving up only three hits. Henry had a no-hitter until the fifth inning when she allowed a double.
In the final game, the Lady’Backs set the tone with an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Easley highlighted the four-hit inning with a two-RBI triple.
Arkansas tacked on two runs on four hits in the second inning behind four consecutive two-out singles. The Lady’Backs also stranded three base runners.
Four Lady’Backs recorded two hits in the run-rule game with Easley leading the way with two hits and a game-high three-RBIs.
In her return to the circle, Perry threw a one-hit, shutout while recording 11 strikeouts and allowing one hit in the six-inning contest.
For more information on Arkansas softball, log on to LADYBACKS.COM