LAS CRUCES, N.M.-The University of Arkansas softball team opened the Las Cruces Hilton Classic with a win as they defeated Texas-Arlington 5-4 with a season high eight hits. In the second game, the Lady Razorbacks lost to Kansas 5-1.
Arkansas meets Utah Valley State at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Against UTA, junior Valanna Lyons recorded her second win of the season while sophomore pitcher Sarah Topham earned the save.
The Lady’Backs were the first on the board as senior infielder Ashley Carter started the second inning with a double to center field.
With two outs, sophomore outfielder Rachel LeMaster singled to shortstop and then stole second base before junior Shana Easley knocked a two RBI, single to give Arkansas a 2-0 lead.
Head coach Jamie Pinkerton said he was pleased with the win but sees room for improvement.
“We learned how to win in close circumstances,” Pinkerton said. “Four errors are way too many. Half way through the game I challenged the team and they answered the challenge.”
The Lady Mavericks took the lead in the bottom of the third on three hits and two Arkansas errors.
The Lady’Backs tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fifth when sophomore infielder Kallie Foglesong scored junior outfielder Mindy O’Malley with a double to right center field.
Five of the eight Arkansas hits were doubles with the Lady’Backs taking four stolen bases. .
Arkansas showed defensive prowess as senior outfielder Zenobia Davison didn’t allow UTA to score as she caught a fly ball and then threw out freshman shortstop Amanda Swofford at home.
Easley started the sixth inning with a double to center field. Davison followed with a double to right center that scored freshman pinch runner Heather Rankin. Davison scored on a UTA error to give the Lady’Backs a 5-3 lead.
The Lady Mavericks attempted a seventh inning comeback as they scored one run on two hits but it wasn’t enough as Arkansas improved to 3-3 on the year.
In the second game, the Lady’Backs managed only three hits, while Kansas opened the first inning with three hits to take a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, the Jayhawks added another run on three hits when freshman pitcher Katy Henry came in to relieve Topham.
Pinkerton said the Lady’Backs were up against a talented team that took advantage of Arkansas’ blunders.
“We played a very good Kansas team,” Pinkerton said. “We fell behind early, made a couple of mistakes and didn’t hit the ball well.”
Kansas scored two more runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead before Arkansas answered in the bottom of the inning. LeMaster hit a leadoff triple, the first of her career, to center field.
Easley scored LeMaster to give the Lady’Backs their lone run of the game to trail 4-1. Freshman pitcher Kelly Ninemire replaced Henry in the sixth inning.
After Ninemire blanked Kansas in the sixth, the Jayhawks recorded their final run of the game in the top of the seventh to finish the game 5-1.
For more information on Arkansas softball, log on to www.ladybacks.com.