CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The University of Arkansas softball team improved to 4-0 Sunday evening with a pair of wins on day two of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Razorbacks opened with a 5-2 victory over Weber State and capped their day by erasing a five-run deficit to rally past Loyola Marymount. Sophomore Autumn Storms recorded both wins in the circle while freshman catcher Kayla Green turned in a pair of multi-hit efforts.
The Razorbacks return to the Big League Dreams complex Monday morning for their final game of the weekend, taking on Fordham at 10:30 a.m. CT. The two teams last met in 2013 as part of the NCAA Norman Regional. Fordham, the preseason A-10 favorite, played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Game 1: Arkansas 5, Weber State 2 | Box Score
Arkansas jumped out to an early lead, generating four runs through the first two innings. Senior Autumn Buczek led off the game with a walk and eventually came around to score on a base hit by fellow senior A.J. Belans. The Razorbacks extended their advantage with three runs in the second after freshman Hannah McEwen knocked a two-run single through the infield and senior Loren Krzysko followed with an RBI single of her own, scoring Buczek for the second time in as many innings.
Storms made the start and kept the opponent off the scoreboard until the third inning when the Wildcats plated two runs on a line shot down the line in left field. Weber threatened to add more but McEwen ended that thought with an outfield assist to third, cutting down a runner trying to move from first to third on a single to right.
The rest of the game belonged to freshman Mary Haff who entered the game in the fifth and struck out six without allowing a hit on her way to earning the first save of her collegiate career. She struck out the first five WSU hitters she faced. Arkansas tacked on an insurance run in the fifth, taking advantage of a pair of miscues in center field.
Game 2: Arkansas 6, Loyola Marymount 5 | Box Score
With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Belans got things started with a walk and moved into scoring position on a one-out single by Green. Freshman Linnie Malkin stepped to the plate and delivered the game-winning hit to left center which brought Belans around to score and complete the comeback.
After a quiet first inning for both teams, Loyola broke through with four hits and three runs in the top of the second including a two-run homer by Sabrina Tebou. The Lions added two runs in the fourth to push their lead to 5-0 but Arkansas responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth including a solo home run off the bat of Belans. She was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk in the game.
Storms started the fifth inning and was the dominating factor for the remainder of the game. She struck out seven of the first nine hitters she faced. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks’ offense was chipping away at its deficit with two runs in the fifth and the tying run in the sixth. Down a run in the sixth frame and with runners at the corner, Buczek singled past the shortstop which allowed pinch runner Sydney Benz to score the equalizer.
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