FAYETTEVILLE-The University of Arkansas softball team opened the Country Inn and Suites Arkansas Invitational with a sweep over Jacksonville State, 2-1 in 11 innings, and 6-2, Friday, March 3.
Offensively, senior infielder Blaire Perry led the Lady Razorbacks (7-8) in the first game with two hits while junior outfielder Rachel LeMaster had three hits in the second game.
Arkansas softball head coach Jamie Pinkerton said he was pleased with the team’s performance in the longest game of the season.
“I thought it was a great game from the standpoint that we grew up,” he said. “We executed every inning and had the opportunity to win. Perry kept us in the game.”
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, sophomore infielder Samantha Buckner began the inning with a walk. Freshman pinch runner Brandy Foust then advanced to second on a freshman infielder Kayla Johnson sacrifice bunt.
With two outs, freshman designated player Whitney Cloer came to the plate and hit a triple that scored Foust to tie the game.
In extra innings, the tournament rules state that a base runner is placed on second due to the international tie-breaker rule. The Lady’Backs got out of a jam in the top of the eighth inning. Jacksonville State loaded the bases with no outs but Arkansas retired the next three including two strikeouts.
The Lady’Backs also loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth but to no avail. Then in the bottom of the 11th inning, Perry recorded a single that scored freshman pinch runner Hillary Freeman.
Sophomore Katy Henry (3-2) took the win after replacing Perry in the seventh inning. Henry finished with eight strikeouts.
Pinkerton said he was happy with the Lady’Backs showing in the circle. Henry only gave up three hits in 10 and one-third innings.
“What can I say about Katy Henry,” he said. “She was absolutely wonderful. We needed big time help from her and we got it.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Lady’Backs were down 2-0 before a six-run third inning. Arkansas used five hits and three Gamecock errors to take the lead.
Senior outfielder Mindy O’Malley started the Lady’Back rally with a single. LeMaster and freshman outfielder Jocelyne Moncrief followed with singles. After three Jacksonville State errors, Perry singled and sophomore infielder Dayna Huckabee hit her first triple of the season.
Junior Kayce Odle started the game but Henry relieved her in the second inning. Henry (4-2) recorded her second win of the day as she tied her season-high strikeout mark with nine.
The Lady’Backs continue play in the Country Inn and Suites Arkansas Invitational, Saturday, with a doubleheader versus Northwestern State at 2:00 p.m. For more information on Arkansas softball log on to LADYBACKS.COM.