KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Arkansas softball team closed out its conference-opening weekend with a pair of road losses in a Saturday doubleheader at No. 16 Tennessee. Freshman Ashley Diaz had a home run in each of the games to push her team-leading total to nine. With the setbacks, the Razorbacks are now 11-12 overall with an 0-3 mark in SEC play.
Game 1 – Tennessee 10, Arkansas 2 (5 inn.)
Trailing by one after the first, the Razorbacks responded with a run of their own in the top of the second inning to pull even on the scoreboard. Tori Cooper led off the inning with a base hit and came around to score on an RBI single to left field off the bat of catcher Lauren Archuleta. Starter Grace Moll worked around a no-out single in the next half inning to keep the game tied going into the third.
For the second in as many games, Diaz led off the third inning with a solo shot to center field off Tennessee pitcher Matty Moss. Arkansas led 2-1 after the big fly. The home run was her eighth of the season—second of the weekend—and the South El Monte, Calif., native extended her hitting streak to a 16 games. Diaz added a single in the fifth inning for her 10th multi-hit game of the season.
Moll faced a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the first and third innings but held the Vols to just one run in each frame. The home team, however, broke through with eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to secure the run-rule win. On the final play of the game, pinch runner CJ McClain scored the game-clinching run from third on a throw down to second.
Game 2 – Tennessee 3, Arkansas 1
Diaz continued her big swinging in the second game of the day, greeting reliever Rainey Gaffin with a solo home run off the scoreboard in left center. The Razorbacks freshman has hit eight of her nine home runs during the stretch also marked by nine multi-hit games. Gaffin settled in after the Diaz home run to keep Arkansas to one run. Tori Cooper registered a two-out double in the sixth but was left stranded in scoring position.
Tennessee (20-5, 3-0 SEC) did all of its damage in the third inning with three runs, all on a bases-loaded double by Meghan Gregg. Moll recovered to retire the next three hitters on ground balls to keep the Razorbacks within striking distance. She got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fourth and faced the minimum over the final two innings.
After this weekend’s conference opener in Knoxville, the Razorbacks return to Fayetteville for a midweek contest against Tulsa at Bogle Park. Wednesday’s game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. (CT) and will be streamed live on the SEC Network+ and through the WatchESPN app. Arkansas’ SEC home opener is scheduled for March 25-27 when it hosts No. 17 Kentucky.
Season tickets are now on sale for $45 through the Razorback Ticket Center. For more information about purchasing season tickets, call 800-982-HOGS (4647) or 479-575-5151, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Razorback Ticket Center located next to Baum Stadium. For more information about Arkansas softball, follow @RazorbackSB on Twitter.