MINNEAPOLIS – The Arkansas softball team struggled at the plate in a pair of losses Saturday at the Metrodome Classic.
The Razorbacks managed only four hits in their first game of the day, a 2-1 loss to Drake, and stranded 12 runners on base in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota in which the Golden Gophers scored the first four runs."We have been in all of the games we have played so far. We just need to clean up a few things," Arkansas coach Mike Larabee said. "I told the team they need to keep working hard and that we will be a good team. It is still early and we are all still getting used to each other. Offensively, we need to come up with those timely hits. We left 12 runners on base against Minnesota. We also need to improve our base running because we have run ourselves out of a few innings."
The Razorbacks (1-3) split their first two games in the three-day tournament, earning a win Friday night against Iowa.
Minnesota (3-2) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning Saturday against Arkansas. Gophers left fielder Heidi Carls drove in the first run with a ground-rule double to left-center field, and shortstop Abby Rehberger followed with a two-run single.Arkansas cut the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third on an RBI groundout by first baseman Sandra Smith.The Razorbacks loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning and again in the fifth, but Minnesota starter Lacey Middlebrooks worked out of trouble each time. Middlebrooks limited Arkansas to one run on nine hits, walking five and striking out six.In her second start of the weekend, Razorbacks freshman Hope McLemore (1-1) allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits. She walked two and struck out two in three innings. Senior Miranda Dixon pitched four scoreless innings to close out the game, giving up only two hits and striking out one.Roseville, Calif., native Courtney Breault started at second base and reached base three times in her collegiate debut.Against Drake (2-1), the Razorbacks erased a 1-0 deficit in the top of the sixth inning on center fielder’s Jessica Bachkora first home run of the season, only to see Drake take the lead again in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by second baseman Torey Carddock.Bachkora is the top hitter for the Razorbacks through four games, having gone 7-for-13 (.538) with a double, an RBI and five runs scored.Bulldogs starter Jenna DeLong (1-1) limited Arkansas to one run on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings.Drake got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Craddock. The sophomore finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs.After surrendering the first-inning run, Arkansas starting pitcher Kim Jones (0-1) shut out the Bulldogs for the next four innings, allowing only one hit during that span. In all, Jones surrendered two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks.Arkansas will play its final game of the three-day tournament Sunday at 9 a.m. against Iowa State.