CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Arkansas Razorbacks closed out the final day of the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Islander Classic with a 5-2 win over Rutgers and a 0-4 loss to host Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the championship round on Saturday.
The Hogs’ morning game against the Scarlet Knights brought in four runs off four hits for UA. Senior Layne McGuirt allowed just five hits for a 2-2 record this season. RU picked up just one hit in the first three innings at the plate, but it was the Razorbacks to get on the board first.
"I thought our girls game out with just an incredible amount of energy," Arkansas coach Mike Larabee said. "I thought Layne McGuirt kind of put the weight of the team on her shoulders. Right from the get-go, you could tell she did not want to come out of that game."
Courtney Breault got on base with a walk in the Hogs half of the fourth inning. She advanced on a single to third by freshman Amanda Geile. A double by senior Becca Carden to center field brought in the first two runs. Two walks brought Carden across the plate to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead.
"Becca Carden, who had a very solid weekend for us, came out with a bit hit and I was very please after coming off a tough loss the night before," Larabee said.
RU answered back with two runs in their half of the fourth. Three singles by the Scarlet Knights plated two runs to close UA’s lead. It didn’t last long as a bunt by Macy Burr followed by a stolen base put the Hogs in scoring position. A single by Breault brought plated a run by Burr and Tori Mort followed with the fifth run of the game off an error.
With the win over Rutgers, the Razorbacks met Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the championship game of the tournament. The 0-4 loss for the Hogs didn’t come without four hits and four strikeouts by pitcher Kim Jones.
"We had a shaky first inning," Larabee said. "We walked the leadoff batter and we kicked a couple balls around a little bit. We got down 4-0 and from that point on Kim Jones completely dominated. Our pitchers had a very solid weekend, overall."
Each of the Islanders four runs came in their half of the first inning. Three hits and two errors allowed TAMUCC to plate the runs, but the Hogs held the Islanders without a run in the next five innings.
The Hogs made the attempt in the third inning with a base hit by catcher Jayme Gee. The shot down the middle set the tone for Chloe Oprzedek who hit a single to short. The hits were not enough to get the Hogs on the board, however.
Jones tossed six strikeouts in her six innings in the circle. The senior Razorback allowed four hits and just two earned runs on the day.
"Unfortunately, we had four hits and they had four hits, and we didn’t have any run support," Larabee said. "All in all this weekend, I’d say it was disappointing. I thought we played down to the level of our competition. After playing a lot of ranked teams and playing like a top-20 team last weekend, I thought we really stepped down."
The Razorbacks set their sights on the University of South Florida Under Armour Invitational, March 4-6 in Tampa, Fla.