NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team fell to the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners, 10-5, on Saturday in Norman, Okla.
Arkansas (35-19) scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead to one run, but Oklahoma scored four runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning to take control of the game. The loss means that the Hogs will face the winner of Fordham vs. Marist at 6 p.m. tonight.
"I am really proud of our team for the effort," head coach Mike Larabee said. "We showed a lot of heart to fight back. I am disappointed that we gave up four runs on the other end of the inning. We had a great gameplan and did a great job swinging the bats today."
The Razorbacks benefited from a two-out, two-run bomb from pinch-hitting Andrea Sullivan in the sixth inning. The senior’s first homerun of the year sparked the momentum for the Hogs.
"I had a great feeling to pinch-hit her," Larabee said. "She hits lefties really well and I know that if she barrels a ball up, it is going to go far."
The five runs allowed by Oklahoma starter Keilani Ricketts tied a season high. Amanda Geile had a nice day at the plate and finished 2-for-3 with a double, a homerun and was hit by a pitch. Clarisa Navarro also finished with two hits and two RBI. Stephanie Canfield scored a run and went 2-for-3 after a 3-for-3 effort in last night’s game.
"From the middle of February this team has never quit," Larabee said. "There is no quit in this team, we have heart. This team will find a way to hang in there and I am really proud of them. We have to get momentum in our next game because we are going to be facing a team that is coming off a win."
Arkansas loaded the bases in the top of the first starting with a two-out infield single from Chloe Oprzedek. Geile was then pegged in the back and Canfield beat out an infield single to load the bags. Sierra Bronkey worked a 2-1 count but eventually grounded out to third base and all three runners were left stranded.
Lauren Chamberlain reached on an error to start the bottom of the first, she advanced to second on the dropped infield popup. She was bunted to third base in the Sooner’s next at bat by Georgia Casey. Shelby Pendley followed and was hit on the arm with a 3-2 count. This put runners at the corners for Keilani Ricketts. She worked an 11-pitch at-bat and blooped a single into centerfield, this scored Chamberlain from third. After a popout from Jessica Shults, Brittany Williams notched an RBI-single of her own to make it 2-0, Sooners, after one inning of play. Both runs were unearned in the frame.
After a scoreless second inning from both teams, Arkansas starter Hope McLemore struck out Ricketts to start the bottom of the third. Shults lined out to Bronkey at second for out number two. Brittany Williams took an 0-2 pitch and drove it over the centerfield fence in the next at-bat. Her 13th homer of the year gave Oklahoma a 3-0 lead.
Geile answered on the first pitch of the fourth inning. She soared her sixth homerun of the year over the centerfield wall to cut the lead to two runs. However, the Razorbacks were unable to score any more runs in the fourth as they were retired in order by Ricketts.
McLemore retired Calie Parsons to start the bottom of the fourth. Brianna Turang blooped a one-out single and Chamberlain was intentionally walked to put two runners on for Casey. She also singled and the bases were loaded for Pendley. This ended McLemore’s day in the circle. She went 3.1 innings and gave up one earned run on six hits. Her classmate, Chelsea Cohen came on in relief and got Pendley to ground into a fielder’s choice, Turang was thrown out at home. Ricketts followed and drew a four-pitch walk, Chamberlain crossed the plate to give Oklahoma a 4-1 lead. The senior captain, Cohen, battled back and struck out Shults on a changeup to end the inning.
Devon Wallace drew a two-out walk in the top of the fifth. This was her NCAA-leading 77th walk of the season. She was moved to second on an infield single from Clarisa Navarro two pitches later, but both runners were left stranded.
Williams started the bottom of the fifth with her third hit of the day and legged out a double. Destinee Martinez and Parsons followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases for Turang. She grounded back to Cohen and Williams was thrown out at home. Chamberlain then smoked a single past Navarro and two runners came around to score. Her 71st RBI of the season gave the Sooners a 6-1 lead after five innings. Cohen battled and retired the next two batters, striking out Pendley to end the inning.
Canfield notched her fifth hit of the regional with one-out in the sixth. She came around to score two batters later when Sullivan belted a two-run bomb over the centerfield fence. Her second hit of the year cut the score to 6-3. Amanda Summerford was hit by a pitch and moved to second with a single from Jamye Gee. Wallace followed with a walk to load the bases for Navarro. She delivered with a two-out, two-run single. The two runs cut the lead to one and left two runners on for Oprzedek. She took three good cuts but went down swinging and the side was retired.
Cohen retired the first two batters of the bottom of the sixth before Javen Henson and Martinez tallied back-to-back singles. Parsons followed with a double that plated a Henson and increased the lead to 7-5. Cohen walked Turang on four pitches to load the bases for Chamberlain. She laced a double off of the centerfield wall that scored three runners. Her fifth RBI of the game gave Oklahoma a 10-5 lead.
Geile made sure that the Razorbacks would not go quietly and ripped a double to start the seventh inning. Canfield followed with a walk to put two runners on for Bronkey. She hit into a double-play as Casey tagged out Canfield moving to second. Sullivan lined out to give Oklahoma a 10-5 win.
Next up, the Razorbacks will face the winner of Fordham and Marist. The game will take place at 6 p.m. tonight and will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
For more information regarding Razorback softball please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: OU Game one.pdf