FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team swept Indiana State in a doubleheader at Lady’Back Yard on Wednesday. The Lady Razorbacks run ruled the Sycamores 12-2 in five innings and followed with a 4-1 victory. Arkansas improved to 21-6, equaling its win total from last year, while Indiana State fell to 7-10.
The Lady’Backs hit three home runs in their first game for a record season total of 33. Junior Hillary Freeman boasted the best average on the day batting .600 with three hits. Senior Dayna Huckabee and junior Kayla Johnson were 4-for-7. Huckabee had a home run, a triple, three runs and seven RBI. Two of Johnson’s hits were doubles with two runs and one RBI from the lead-off spot.
“The offense got back on track today,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “In both games we scored runs in the first inning and set the tone early. We wanted to get back out and work on some things that didn’t go well in the South Carolina series and we did that. I’m really proud of the way we attacked the ball.”
Arkansas got off to a quick start in the first inning behind the bat of Huckabee. With sophomore Miranda Dixon, sophomore Sandra Smith and junior Whitney Cloer on base and two outs, Huckabee cleared the bases with a triple a bounce away from the center field wall. Senior Samantha Buckner drew a walk in the next at bat, putting runners on first and third before Freeman bunted down the first-base line for a hit, scoring Huckabee from third and giving the Lady’Backs the 4-0 lead.
In the third, Freeman singled up the middle with one out and advanced to second on a ground out from Moncrief. With two down, Johnson laced a double down the left field line, plating Freeman from second and putting Arkansas up 5-0.
Indiana State got on the scoreboard in the fourth. Pitcher Katie Armour singled to center field and advanced to third on an outfield error. Britt Boyer then singled through the left side to score Armour and make the score 5-1.
In the bottom of the inning, Arkansas plated three more on two outs with the help of two home runs. Cloer hit her third homer of the year with a solo shot to left field. Huckabee followed with an infield single before Buckner launched her seventh home run of the season to increase Arkansas’ lead to 8-1.
The Sycamores did not give up as Kelsey Anderson led off the fifth with a double to deep left field. Meredith Simpson singled up the middle and Anderson touched home plate to give the Sycamores their second run.
The Lady’Backs loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth. Johnson led off with an infield single, sophomore Teighynne Hulsey reached on an error and Dixon walked. Cloer scored one run with a sacrifice fly to center before Huckabee hit her fourth home run of the year, a three-run shot to left center, to end the game 12-2.
Huckabee tallied six RBI to tie the game record for most RBI. Arkansas had 12 hits, 12 runs and 12 RBI in the win.
Dixon (7-2) threw all five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and striking out eight.
In game two, Johnson led off the bottom of the first with a single through the right side and Hulsey followed with a walk. Dixon doubled to the corner of right field and scored Johnson from second and moved Hulsey to third. With one down, Cloer dropped a single into shallow center field to allow Hulsey to cross the plate for the early 2-0 advantage.
In the third, Indiana State’s Simpson led off with an infield single. Christina Meyers then lined out to Kim Jones in the circle, which caught Simpson several steps off first base, but an overthrow to first by Jones allowed Simpson to reach third base. Armour had a hard-hit line drive up the middle that Jones managed to knock down in the infield, but Simpson crossed the plate from third to bring the Sycamores within one.
In the bottom of the sixth, Dixon drew a lead-off walk and junior Brandy Foust came in to pinch run before Smith doubled with a line drive to center. Huckabee collected her seventh RBI of the day with an infield single that scored Foust from third. Buckner then plated Smith with an infield ground out to give the Lady’Backs the 4-1 win.
Jones (3-2) picked up her third win in the circle. She gave up just one unearned run on three hits and fanned six in four and two thirds innings. She was relieved by senior Katy Henry in the fifth. Henry earned her fist save throwing two and one third innings allowing one hit while striking out three.
“We got what we wanted out of Kim,” said Pinkerton. “I wanted to get her four solid innings and then give Katie an inning or two. They both pitched really well. We need Kim and we took some good steps with her today.”
Arkansas returns to Lady’Back Yard on Friday and Saturday to take on the fourth-ranked Florida Gators in a three-game Southeastern Conference series. The doubleheader Friday begins at 3 p.m.
For more information and tickets please call the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.