OXFORD, Miss. – Only two runs separated the Razorback softball team and Ole Miss during Saturday’s doubleheader, but Arkansas (18-13, 7-4) came out on the wrong side of both games with a pair of one-run losses. A seventh-inning rally ended short in a 5-4 loss in game one, while a three-run sixth for Ole Miss (15-17, 4-11) was enough to send the Razorbacks to a 3-2 defeat.
“It was just one of those days where we lost two tough one-run games,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “It was just a situation where we didn’t play badly but the ball didn’t bounce our way at times and Ole Miss took their opportunities to win the games, but now we have to get back tomorrow to salvage a game in the series finale.”
Arkansas opened the day’s scoring with a run in the top of the second of game one. With runners on first and second and two outs, Brittany Griffiths doubled to left field to bring Kayla Johnson home from second. After a walk to Jocelyne Moncrief, the bases were loaded with Jessica Bachkora coming to the plate. The Razorbacks’ leadoff hitter popped out to second base to end the inning, but Arkansas led, 1-0.
The teams then traded two-run spots with the Rebels picking up a pair of runs in their half of the second and Arkansas adding two runs of its own in the top of the third. Whitney Cloer picked up her 12th double of the season and came around to score on a triple by Johnson. With two gone, Amie Hubbard had an infield single to Johnson from third to give the Razorbacks the 3-2 lead.
Ole Miss tied the score in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Michelle May. At the end of three, Arkansas and Ole Miss were tied, 3-3, but the Rebels took the lead with two runs in the fifth. With bases loaded, Aly Presswood singled to right and scored May and Amber Tramp for a 5-3 Rebel lead.
Down to their last out in the top of the seventh, the Razorbacks started a rally with a single by Cloer through the right side. Johnson then doubled down the left field line and Becca Carden, on to pinch run for Cloer, slid home safely to cut the Rebel lead to one. With Johnson on second, Miranda Dixon grounded out to third base to end the rally and the game.
In game two, the Razorbacks jumped out again to the early advantage. Bachkora led off the game by getting hit by pitch from Ole Miss starter Lindsey Perry. Johnson continued her hot swinging with a single up the middle, her fourth hit of the day, to bring home Bachkora for a 1-0 lead.
Dixon, Arkansas’ game-two starter, made the one-run lead stand up early as she retired the first 11 Ole Miss batters of the game. Grill broke through for the Rebels with an infield single up the middle in the fourth. Dixon got the next batter to fly out to Tori Mort in left to keep Ole Miss off the board.
In the top of the sixth, Dixon helped her own cause with a double to deep center. The two-bagger brought Sandra Smith around to score and the Razorbacks were ahead, 2-0.
Ole Miss had three consecutive hits in the sixth, including a two-run shot by Lisa Conchos to tie the game, 2-2. After a throwing error, Grill stood on second when Ashley Dowdy grounded a ball up the middle which Dixon gathered after a slight bobble and threw over to first. On a bang-bang play, the runner was called safe and Grill, running on contact, came around to score for the Rebels to give the home team the 3-2 lead.
In the Arkansas half of the seventh, Perry retired the side in order to preserve the win for the Rebels, which clinched the series, too.
Sunday’s series finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start from the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The game will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and live stats will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Ole Miss 3, Arkansas 2.pdf