MINNEAPOLIS – The Arkansas softball team split a pair of games Friday at the Metrodome Classic to open the season under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Larabee.
Arkansas (1-1) ended the day with a 2-1 victory over Iowa after falling in the season opener to Western Illinois, 5-4.
In game two, the Razorbacks went ahead 2-1 on Jessica Robison’s solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The home run was her first hit of the two games.
Arkansas freshman Hope McLemore (1-0) earned the win with a complete-game, one-run performance in her collegiate debut. The Ringling, Okla., native allowed the one run on four hits while issuing one walk and striking out 10, including fanning the side in the top of the first.
The Razorbacks took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a RBI groundout off the bat of first baseman Sandra Smith. Center fielder Jessica Bachkora scored after leading off the game with a single. Bachkora went 4-for-6 with on the day with three singles, a double and three runs scored.
Iowa (1-0) evened the score at 1-1 on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Katie Brown in the top of the third inning.
In the first game of the day, Arkansas took a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning, but saw the Leathernecks rally to score four runs in the final two frames to earn the come-from-behind victory.
Western Illinois (2-1) tallied two runs in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI groundout off the bat of third baseman Julie DePolo followed by the game-winning RBI single by first baseman Jamie Goss.
Razorback senior Miranda Dixon drove in all four runs for Arkansas after going 2-for-4 at the plate, including a three-run home run in the top of the first inning.
Western Illinois pitcher Lori Pankratz (2-0) surrendered four runs on eight hits through seven innings to earn her second victory of the young season. The senior walked four and struck out seven.
Arkansas starting pitcher Layne McGuirt worked four innings allowing one run on six hits while striking out one and walking none in her 10th-careeer start. Dixon (0-1) took the lost after coming in to the game in the top of the fifth. Dixon gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits in 2-2/3 innings.
Western Illinois cut Arkansas’ lead to 3-1 in the top of the second on an RBI single off the bat of Pankratz. Left fielder Beth Golitko scored after she doubled deep to left-center field with two outs in the inning. The Leathernecks tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back RBI singles by shortstop Lauren Furgala and pinch hitter Ashley Campbell. Biebel scored after she singled to left field while DePolo crossed home plate after reaching base on an error.
Arkansas returns to the field Saturday at 9 a.m. against Drake followed by a 1 p.m. game against host Minnesota.