Andrew Reynolds, Athletic Media Relations
AUBURN, Ala. — The University of Arkansas softball team fell victim to two walk-off home runs in a double header sweep against the Auburn Tigers on Saturday at Jane B. Moore Field. Auburn’s Lisndey Harrelson hit a two-out pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning of game one, while Kyndall White led off the eighth with a solo shot to win the day’s second game for the Tigers.
Arkansas (28-27, 10-17 SEC) came back strong in the second contest of the afternoon after dropping game one, 4-3. They got on the board early as Jessica Bachkora was hit by a pitch to lead off the first. Sandra Smith then singled on a line drive into right. Miranda Dixon came to the plate with runners at the corners and one out and singled up the middle to score Bachkora from third. A ground out by Courtney Breault put runners at second and third with two out, but Layne McGuirt struck out to end the threat.
Auburn (29-23, 10-17) tied the game in the bottom of the second inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kelly Smiley. Both teams were scoreless in the third, but McGuirt reached on an error by third baseman Kendyll White to lead off the fourth, and was singled in by Brittany Griffiths to give the Hogs the lead, 2-1.
McGuirt was masterful through six innings, allowing only one run on three hits. She ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh, allowing three straight one-out singles. Auburn tied the game at two and had two on. Hope McLemore came on in relief and was able to get the final two outs of the seventh to send it to extras.
Breault led off the Arkansas eighth with a walk, but Auburn pitcher Anna Thompson retired the next three hitters. Freshman Amanda Summerford, who was running for Breault, was stranded at second. McLemore came back out in the eighth, and White hit the game winning home run in the first at-bat.
Thompson (16-8, 1.64 ERA) was awarded the win after tossing 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing no hits, one walk and striking out six. She was throwing in relief of starter Jenee Loree who was pulled with one out in the fifth. Loree threw 4.1 innings, allowed six hits, two runs, one earned, struck out three and walked one. McLemore (14-12) threw only two-thirds of an inning and was issued the loss.
In game one, Arkansas started the scoring early, as Becca Carden hit a two-run home run with one out in the first first inning to give the Hogs the early lead, 1-0. Smith was then hit by a pitch, and later came around to score on a Breault double. Breault was thrown out on the play after taking a wide turn at second base. Arkansas led, 2-0, after a half inning.
The Tigers started early as well. Amber Harrison led off the first with a single, but was thrown out by Bachkora after trying to extend it to a double. McLemore then issued a two-out walk to White, and Elizabeth Eisterhold hit a two-run home run over the wall in right center to tie the ball game, 2-2.
The Tigers took the lead in the second when Kelsey Cartwight led off the inning with a solo home run. Bachkora matched the feat in the Arkansas third, hitting a solo shot to right center. It was her 15th home run of the year, breaking the Arkansas single-season home run record. The game was tied, 3-3, after three innings.
The two teams would combine for just one hit in the next three innings, as Smith hit a two-out double in the fifth, but was stranded. The Hogs also had a runner on with two outs in top of the seventh, but Bachkora was caught stealing to end the frame. McLemore had retired nine straight batters from the end of the fourth inning on, but allowed a two-out, walk-off, pinch-hit home run to Lindsey Harrelson in the seventh. McLemore threw 6.2 innings, allowed four earned runs on five hits, struck out two and walked one. Auburn won game one, 4-3.
Angel Bunner started inside the circle for Auburn, and allowed three earned runs in four innings. Lauren Schmalz (3-2) was awarded the win after coming on in relief in the fifth. She shut down the Arkansas attack, allowing only one hit in three innings of work.
The Hogs and Tigers are tied for seventh in the Southeastern Conference, meaning Sunday’s finale will determine the teams’ seedings for the conference tournament. The game is scheduled to begin at noon and will be televised regionally on SportSouth, Sun Sports, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Houston and Fox Sports South in Kentucky. Check your local listings for coverage in your area. A live stream of the game will also be avaliable on ESPN3.com.