STILLWATER, Okla. – The Razorback softball team opened Saturday play with a 3-1 win over Cleveland State, but couldn’t make it a sweep with a tough loss against Northern Colorado at the Oklahoma State Mizuno Classic. The 6-2 loss to the Bears in the day’s finale snapped Arkansas’ five-game winning streak.In the opener, Amie Hubbard homered and collected two RBI to lead the offense, while Miranda Dixon earned her sixth victory of the season with a complete-game, 10-strikeout performance against Cleveland State. The strikeout total is a season high for Dixon“We weren’t very consistent offensively today,” head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “We were able to hang tough against Cleveland State and scratch out a win, but we wasted some scoring opportunities. That cost us later in our second game.”
Against the Vikings, Arkansas (11-8) had to rally after falling behind. Cleveland State took a 1-0 lead when Lia Gordon cleared the left field wall with a line shot to lead off the fourth inning. Dixon retired the next three in order to limit the damage that one run.
It was the bottom of the fifth when the Arkansas offense broke through to score a couple of runs to take the lead against the Vikings’ starter, Brittany Bate. Hubbard led off the inning with a home run to left field, her first of the season. Sandra Smith followed with a single to shallow left field and Becca Carden came on to pinch run. Carden promptly stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Brittany Griffiths. Jocelyne Moncrief doubled to right center to plate Carden and the Razorbacks led, 2-1, after five.
Arkansas added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Hubbard to score Kayla Johnson from second. Johnson reached on double to center field. On her single, Hubbard was caught in a rundown and called out at first but not before Johnson scored to give the Razorbacks the 3-1 advantage.
Cleveland State had at least one runner on base in every inning, including the seventh when Natalie Dematteis singled to start off the inning. Dixon got the next three batters to pop up, ground out and strikeout looking to end the game.
In game two, the Razorback jumped out to a lead for the first time during the weekend. Arkansas plated runs in the second and fifth innings, but stranded eight more runners on base against the Bears. Griffiths continued her progress at the plate with an RBI single in the first to score Hubbard and Jessica Bachkora, who reached on a walk, came around to score in the fifth to give the Hogs the 2-0 lead.
“There were chances (in the second and fifth innings) to put runs on the board but we were only able to score one each time,” Pinkerton said. “Overall, we didn’t hit well, pitch well or play defense, and when you struggle in those areas, you’re going to get the kind of result we had against Northern Colorado.”
Kim Jones, Arkansas’ starter against Northern Colorado, worked out of trouble through the first four innings without allowing a run, but couldn’t get out of the fifth. A combination of four walks, three singles and two errors proved too costly for Arkansas as the Bears batted around and scored six runs to take the lead.
Jones walked the bases loaded and after a pair of errors by the Razorbacks, Kailee Vessey, Amanda Hensley and Erin Geddis had three consecutive singles to complete the scoring barrage. At the end of the fifth, Northern Colorado led, 6-2.
The Razorbacks went quietly in the sixth and seventh innings to end the game.
Arkansas concludes play in Stillwater on Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. matchup against host Oklahoma State. Live stats and game broadcast will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: Northern Colorado 6, Arkansas 2.pdf