FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team scored a school-record 18 runs in a five-inning win against Saint Louis in the final game of the Clarion Inn-Arkansas Invitational at Lady’Back Yard on Sunday. Senior Katy Henry struck out a season-high 12 batters in a 7-2 win against Creighton earlier in the day.
Arkansas won its ninth game in a row and continues its best start in program history with a 15-2 record.
“We beat two quality opponents today that are well respected in their conferences,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “What made me most proud was that when a mistake was offered by a pitcher, the young ladies took advantage of it. We hit the ball about as well this weekend as any stretch we’ve hit since I’ve been the coach.”
Sophomore Miranda Dixon swung a heavy bat, leading the Lady Razorbacks to a 5-0 weekend and a tournament victory. Dixon batted .833 on Sunday with five hits, including a double, a triple and a home run. She also tallied four RBI and a 1.833 slugging percentage.
“Miranda is one of those hitters that when she gets in a zone, she’s a terror,” Pinkerton said. “She’s in one of those zones right now.”
In addition to Arkansas’ 18 runs off of 16 hits against the Billikens (3-4), the Lady’Backs tallied a school-record 15 RBI.
Dixon got Arkansas out to a quick 2-0 lead with a two-run home run in the top of the first. Sophomore Jessica Bachkora was on base after leading off with a single.
In the second inning, junior Jocelyne Moncrief stole second and an errant throw from Saint Louis allowing freshman Leslie Dixon to cross the plate from third.
Miranda Dixon led off the third with a triple to right center and was brought home by a single to left center from sophomore Sandra Smith. Junior Brandy Foust pinch ran for Smith and scored from third on a sacrifice fly to center field by senior Dayna Huckabee, giving Arkansas the 5-0 lead.
The Lady’Backs tallied 13 runs in the top of the fourth. Collecting RBI in the inning were junior Kayla Johnson (3), Miranda Dixon, senior Samantha Buckner, Huckabee (3), Bachkora and sophomore Teighynne Hulsey. Dixon, Huckabeee and Hulsey each doubled.
SLU committed seven errors in the contest, but rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth on two outs.
Miranda Dixon improved to 4-1 with the win. She threw four innings and struck out eight. Freshman Layne McGuirt relieved Dixon in the fifth and gave up three runs off of three hits and tallied three K’s.
Henry held the Creighton Bluejays in check in Arkansas’ first game of the day with a season-high 12 strikeouts. Henry gave up two runs on four hits and walked just two to remain undefeated and improve to 9-0. Creighton endured its third loss of the year and fell to 9-3.
Bachkora scored in the first off of a single to left field by Cloer. On two outs with the bases loaded, Buckner laced a double to right center, clearing Johnson, Dixon and Cloer off the bases for a 4-0 Arkansas lead.
Creighton’s Michelle Graner hit a two-run home run in the top of the second to bring the Bluejays within two, 4-2.
Johnson launched a solo home run in the bottom inning, increasing the Lady’Backs’ lead to three runs.
Moncrief led off the bottom of the fourth with a single through the right side. She was sacrificed over by Bachkora and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Johnson drew a walk to put runners on first and third before Miranda Dixon dropped a base hit into shallow center field scoring Moncrief and moving Johnson to second. Johnson reached third on a fielder’s choice by Smith and scored when Cloer singled through the left side and put Arkansas up 7-2.
Creighton’s Tara Oltman earned the loss from the circle and dropped to 5-2. In four innings of work, she gave up seven runs on eight hits
“Katy had a great performance against Creighton,” said Pinkerton. “They are perennially a great team and they’re well coached. We had a great day against the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year (Oltman). I’ve seen her shut down good-hitting teams and I was really proud of the way we hit the ball. Now we have to take this momentum on the road and continue to play well before we go into conference play.”
The Lady’Backs return to action Feb. 29 traveling to Tempe, Ariz., for the Wilson-DeMarini Invitational, hosted by No. 2/4 Arizona State. Arkansas plays games two games Friday and Saturday and a single game on Sunday.
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