DENTON, Texas – The University of Arkansas softball team turned its opening day into a power display Saturday at the North Texas Invitational in Denton, Texas. The Razorbacks rang up 21 runs on 19 hits including a combined eight home runs in run-rule victories over UMass Lowell and host North Texas. Senior Nicole Schroeder hit three of the eight home runs and finished the day with seven RBIs.
With the offense doing its part, senior Grace Moll and freshman Autumn Storms were just as strong in the circle. The pair combined for 16 strikeouts while holding the opposition to seven hits and just one unearned run during the day.
Arkansas 10, UMass Lowell 1 (5 inn.) | Box Score
The Razorbacks hit three of their home runs Saturday in their opener against UMass Lowell. Already staked to a 2-0 lead after the first, Schroeder and Madison Yannetti each stroked two-run shots in the second to push the lead to six. Schroeder came through again with a three-run blast in the fourth to secure the second multi-homerun game of her career. Sophomore Ashley Diaz followed with the first triple of her career, and scored on an errant throw to home during the next at-bat.
Saturday’s offensive performance against the River Hawks marked the fourth time in program history that Arkansas scored double digits in its season opener, and first time since 2012. Schroeder is now tied for fourth place on the program’s top-10 list with 24 career home runs, currently tied with Whitney Cloer (2006-09). Moll had two strikeouts in each of the first four innings on her way to ringing up nine UMass Lowell hitters.
Arkansas 11, North Texas 0 (5 inn.) | Box Score
It didn’t take long for Schroeder to continue the Razorbacks’ power surge, launching another two-run homer to deep right center in the first inning. Shelby Hiers, who crossed the plate four times Saturday, scored on the play. After being shut out for the next two innings, the offense generated three runs in the fourth to create run on the scoreboard. Haydi Bugarin hit a low liner over the left-field fence—another two-run job—and Autumn Russell plated Yannetti with a triple to right center.
Arkansas (2-0) sealed the day with six runs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to three more home runs. Sophomore transfer Katie Warrick got in on the act with a high, three-run shot to center field, and after an out, Yannetti and Russell went back-to-back to push the Razorbacks into double figures. With Canfield on second, Hiers produced the final tally of the day with a double to deep center field.
In her debut, Storms posted seven strikeouts and allowed just three hits in the shutout effort. North Texas threatened in the second with a runner at third but Yannetti cut off a throw down to second and fired home to get the would-be score. Storms worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth with a strikeout and a groundball to secure her first collegiate win.
The Razorbacks close out the season-opening weekend with another set of games against UMass Lowell and North Texas on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m. (CT) at Lovelace Stadium in Denton. Arkansas is set to play its first 15 games on the road before its home debut on March 3 on day one of the Wooo Pig Classic.
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