FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team used a nine-run first inning to defeat the ULM Warhawks, 14-3 in five innings, at Bogle Park Friday in the Arkansas Invitational. The offense came alive in the first game of the Arkansas Invitational for the Razorbacks as five players had a multiple hit game. Leading the charge for the Hogs were Nicole Schroeder and Chloe Oprzedek, who both hit grandslams in the game. Also producing a nice game at the plate was Devon Wallace, who went 3-for-3 with a double, a homerun, two RBI and three runs scored. The big hits of the day however went to Oprzedek and Schroeder. Schroeder finished the day 2-for-3 with a homerun, four RBI and a run scored and Oprzedek went 2-for-3 with a triple, a homerun, five RBI and two runs scored. All together the Razorbacks tallied 14 runs on 13 hits, including three homeruns.
"We had a great week of practice and I felt confident going into this game," Head coach Mike Larabee said. "Putting up that nine-spot early was nice to see."
Senior, Chelsea Cohen started the game for the Razorbacks and notched her best strikeout total of the season with 10. She went five innings and gave up three runs on five hits. Cohen picked up her fourth win in the contest.
"I thought she did really well," Larabee said. "I was disappointed when she put runners on in the second inning but all-in-all she really dug deep and finished the game strong."
The Razorback offense started the game with its first six runners reaching base and scoring. Wallace started the game with a double and then was plated on a single from Clarisa Navarro. Stephanie Canfield advanced to third on the play after singling. Amanda Geile then singled and Jennifer Rambo walked to bring up the freshman, Schroeder, with the bases loaded. She belted a grand slam into the center field grass to give Arkansas a touchdown lead at 6-0. The first inning rout continued as Sierra Bronkey singled, Jayme Gee reached on a fielder’s choice and then scored on a Chloe Oprzedek triple. Wallace followed the triple with a two-run homerun, her third of the season. The Hogs struck for nine runs on nine hits in the first.
ULM got on the board in the top of the second as Kayla Prater scored on a groundout from Faith Bohack. Cohen then gave up a triple down the right field line to Kayla Boening. The three-bagger scored Haley McCall and Elena DiMattia, making the score 9-3, Razorbacks, after the top half of the second.
Cohen regained her composure and struck out the side in the third. This totaled seven strikeouts for Cohen in the game. Arkansas plated another run in the bottom half of the inning as Wallace scored on a Navarro groundout. Wallace singled earlier in the inning to keep her a perfect 3-for-3 on the day.
The senior captain, Cohen, continued to deal in the fourth, only allowing a double to start the inning. Cohen had three more strikeouts in the fourth to push her total into double digits at ten.
Rambo drew her third walk of the day to leadoff the bottom half of the inning for the Razorbacks. She was advanced to third on a Bronkey infield single, her second hit of the day. Gee then walked, loading the bases for Oprzedek. The junior from Lockport, Ill. tattooed a ball into the leftfield grass, giving Arkansas a 14-to-3 lead and an eventual win in five innings.
Next up, the Razorbacks will continue the Arkansas Invitational, tomorrow, Feb. 23. Arkansas will face Murray State and Saint Louis at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. respectively.