STARKVILLE, Miss. – Tori Cooper homered while Ashley Diaz and Autumn Russell turned in two-hit performances but the University of Arkansas softball team dropped a 4-3 decision to Mississippi State in Monday’s series finale. The Razorbacks mounted a comeback with a two-run double by Loren Krzysko in the sixth inning but the would-be rally fell short still trailing by one. Arkansas is now 28-18 overall with a 6-15 mark in SEC play.
Final: Mississippi State 4, Arkansas 3 | Box Score
With two down in the first inning, Cooper turned on an offering from Mississippi State starter Alexis Silkwood and deposited the ball over the fence in right field. The solo shot was Cooper’s eighth home run of the season, doubling the total of four in the first two years of her career. The home run pushed the Razorbacks’ season total to 46 and marked the 18th time Arkansas has scored in the first inning.
As was the case in Sunday’s game, Mississippi State (34-15, 8-10 SEC) matched the output with a run in the bottom of the first to pull even. The Razorbacks has chances throughout the first four innings with two runners on base in each frame but missed opportunities kept the team at just one run on the board. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs a run in the third, fourth and fifth innings to stretch their lead to 4-1, capping their score with a solo home run by Sarai Nui in the fifth frame.
Autumn Storms started the game, giving up five hits and three runs—two earned—in four innings of work. She was relieved by Allison Stewart who was greeted by the Nui shot. After a walk to the second hitter of the inning, Katie Warrick entered the circle in place of Stewart, and continued her strong relief work against Mississippi State. Having thrown three scoreless innings Sunday, Warrick allowed just one hit—an infield single—in her two innings out of the bullpen.
In the top of the sixth, Diaz drew a one-out walk to reach base for the third time in the game. She had a single and a double in her first two at-bats, respectively. Designated player Rachel Box singled to left and Russell put down her second infield hit of the game to load the bases. Krzysko responded with a double off the wall in center field, plating two runs and cutting Arkansas’ deficit to one. However, the home team got out of the threat with an out at the plate and by catching Cooper trying to advance to second on the play.
The Razorbacks’ road trip continues Tuesday afternoon at Jackson State with a 3 p.m. (CT) first pitch, followed by another weekend on the road with a three-game series at Notre Dame beginning Saturday. Arkansas returns home May 5-7 when it hosts Georgia at Bogle Park, the regular-season finale for both teams.
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