OXFORD, Miss. – After a pair of one-run losses on day one of its series with Ole Miss, the Arkansas softball team responded with a 6-0 victory Sunday in the finale of the weekend set. Miranda Dixon was a dual threat for the Arkansas (19-13, 8-4) with a two-run homer at the plate and a shutout performance with 10 strikeouts in the circle. Amie Hubbard also homered for the Razorbacks, while Kayla Johnson and Sandra Smith each collected two hits in the victory.
“Today was huge for us to salvage a win in this series,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “I also thought it was a good way for us to pick up a little momentum heading into the Border War games and then hosting Auburn next weekend. We hit well this weekend, but I was proud of the way we put it together today to score six runs. We started conference play with eight of 11 games on the road and to come out of that with a 5-3 record in those road games is great.”
The two teams went scoreless through the first two innings before the Razorbacks broke through in the third with a run. Brittany Griffiths led off the inning with a single up the middle and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Tori Mort. With two outs, Whitney Cloer singled to right field to plate Griffiths and give her team the early 1-0 lead. It was the 25th RBI of the season for the senior catcher.
Arkansas tacked on another score in the top of the fourth with Hubbard’s solo shot over the left field fence to lead off the inning. It was the second long ball of the season for Hubbard. Arkansas looked to push another run across the plate, but stranded a runner at third.
The scoring continued in the fifth for the Razorbacks. With two outs already recorded, Johnson singled through the left side of the infield for her second hit of the day. The Bartlesville, Okla., native finished the series against Ole Miss with six hits, raising her season average to .313. With Johnson on, Dixon connected with a two-run shot to left center, her third home run of the season.
Dixon was as, if not more, effective in the circle Sunday for the Razorbacks. The junior pitcher blanked the Rebels for her second complete game shutout of the SEC season. Dixon also equaled her season high with 10 strikeouts and walked just one batter during the game.
“Miranda pitched well today as she did yesterday,” Pinkerton said. “The difference is we score more runs for her today and she got the win. She deserved the win yesterday, too. I was proud of the way she came out and worked ahead of hitters today. It was a gutsy performance for her which is what you want from your ace when your team is on a losing streak.”
Smith led off top of the sixth with a double to right center and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Lindsey Perry. Brittany Robison, in the lineup as the designated player, earned a walk to give Arkansas runners on first and third with no outs. After a lineout by Griffiths, Jessica Bachkora drove ball to the base of the wall in left center. Smith scored easily and after a rundown, Robison slid in safely at the plate to give the Razorbacks their sixth run of the game.
With its eighth win of the SEC season, Arkansas equals its conference win total of last season. The Razorbacks will take a break from league action for the annual Border War with Oklahoma State and Tulsa set for Wed., April 1 in Tulsa. Game one of the mid-week set for Arkansas is scheduled for 3 p.m. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information.
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