LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 22 University of Arkansas softball team lost a pair of two-run games Saturday afternoon at No. 17 Kentucky in a doubleheader at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington. In the loss, Shelby Hiers hit her second home run of the season and Ashley Diaz recorded her ninth and 10th multi-hit games of the year. With Saturday’s results, the Razorbacks are now 22-9 overall and 2-7 in SEC play.
Game 1: #17 Kentucky 7, #22 Arkansas 5 | Box Score
The opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader featured five lead changes over the first four innings. For the 14th time this season, the Razorbacks scored in the first inning and took a 1-0 lead with an RBI single by Tori Cooper. Kentucky responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to go ahead on the scoreboard. The scoring continued with Arkansas tallying two more runs in the second. Shelby Hiers and Autumn Russell, who scored in the first, each had an RBI single to put the Razorbacks ahead, 3-2.
After the home team scored on a two-run single in the third, Arkansas trailed by one but the deficit was short lived. Madison Yannetti led off the fourth frame with a walk which brought Hiers to the plate. The senior catcher knocked her second home run of the season to left center and the Razorbacks were back in front, 5-4. With Hiers at the top of the order, Arkansas has now hit a home run from each spot in its lineup this season.
However, the Wildcats had the final say offensive with a three-run fourth inning, capping the output with another two-run hit by Alex Martens. The final three innings were scoreless for each team. Freshman Caroline Hedgcock came in to a two-on, no-out situation in the fifth but kept Kentucky off the board with a strikeout and inning-ending double play. She got another double play in the sixth. Hedgcock allowed one hit and struck out two in two innings of relief.
In her team’s last opportunity at the plate, Ashley Diaz singled to right field with two outs. The base knock was her second hit of the game. The would-be rally ended with a grounder back to the circle. The Razorbacks had chances throughout the game with at least one runner on base in each inning.
Game 2: #17 Kentucky 2, #22 Arkansas 0 | Box Score
Compared to game one where the team’s combined for 12 runs on 19 hits, game two of the doubleheader was a pitcher’s duel between Autumn Storms and Kentucky’s Shannon Smith. In her second start of the weekend, Storms allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings of work but Smith held the Razorback to just two hits in six innings. Those hits were a third-inning single by Yannetti and a fifth-inning double by Diaz.
Kentucky (22-6, 4-2 SEC) scored with two outs in the third, an unearned tally on an RBI by Abbey Cheek. Storms kept her team’s deficit at one until the sixth when the Wildcats added an insurance run for a two-run advantage. With two outs in the seventh, the Razorbacks put together a scoring threat with back-to-back singles by Diaz and Hedgcock but Kentucky sealed the doubleheader sweep with a grounder to first for the final out.
Arkansas’ next home game is Wednesday, March 29, when it hosts Oklahoma State at Bogle Park. The game will be aired on the SEC Network. The Razorbacks also host top-ranked Florida in Fayetteville next weekend. General admission is free for all home games.
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