COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Arkansas Razorback softball team split a pair of games on Saturday at the NFCA Lead-Off Classic at the South Commons Softball Complex.
Arkansas ended the day with a 3-2 victory over Iowa after falling in the first game of the day 11-2 to No. 11/8 Georgia Tech.
The Razorbacks (8-5) took a 3-2 lead on a wild pitch from Iowa hurler Chelsea Lyon. After loading the bases with one out in the home half of the sixth, senior first baseman Sandra Smith scored after getting the rally started with a single up the middle.
Arkansas freshman Chelsea Cohen (1-0) picked up the win in her first collegiate start. Cohen pitched six innings, allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits, walked three and struck out one. Junior Kim Jones closed out the game with a scoreless ninth to earn the first save of her career.
Iowa (6-6) tallied the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning on a ground ball to first that Smith bobbled, allowing pinch runner Ashley Akers to score from third.
The Razorbacks took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Smith drove in the first run when she singled up the middle to drive in shortstop Brittany Griffiths, who walked to lead off the inning. Lindsey Wells, who pinch ran for Smith, then scored on a passed ball from Iowa pitcher Amanda Zust. Wells advanced to third on an error.
The Hawkeyes tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI single off the bat of first baseman Katie Brown. Second baseman Chelsea Carmody scored after leading off the inning with a single.
Zust, who started the game for Iowa, limited the Razorbacks to only two runs (one earned) on one hit while striking out and walking one. Lyon fell to 2-3 after working the final 2-2/3 innings of the game. Lyon surrendered one run on three hits.
In the first game of the day, three Arkansas pitchers combined to allow 11 runs on nine hits, including five home runs, falling to Georgia Tech (11-2) in five innings. Griffiths went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored.
Georgia Tech starting pitcher Kristen Adkins (3-0) limited the Razorbacks to two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out five and issuing two walks.
Georgia Tech took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on second baseman Jen Yee’s seventh home run of the season. The two-run blast to right field scored shortstop Kelsi Weseman who led off the game with a single to left field.
Yee extended the Yellow Jacket advantage to 4-0 in the second with her second two-run home run of the game. Yee again drove in Weseman who reached on an error.
Georgia Tech jumped in front of Arkansas 9-0 with five runs in the bottom of the third. After first baseman Krisine Priebe reached based on an error, left fielder Kate Kuzma launched a two-run home run over the wall in left-center field. Weseman capped the scoring with a three-run home run, the fourth of the day for the Yellow Jackets. All the runs were unearned due to two errors committed by the Razorback defense.
Arkansas tallied its first run of the game in the top of the fourth when third baseman Jessica Robison reached base on an error. Griffiths scored after leading off the inning with a single.
The Razorbacks added another run in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI single off the bat of first baseman Sandra Smith to make the score 11-2. Griffiths scored her second run of the game after reaching based with a single.
Arkansas starter Hope McLemore (4-2) allowed two runs on three hits in just a third of an inning pitched. The freshman walked two and did not strike out a batter.
Razorback senior Miranda Dixon entered the game with one out in the bottom of the first and worked the next 2-2/3 innings. Dixon allowed seven runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out five. Three of the five hits she surrendered left the park.
Cohenmade her collegiate debut in the fourth inning. The Carl Junction, Mo., native worked the final innings of the game, giving up two runs on one hit while walking one and striking out three.
Senior catcher Jessica Waddle made a bid for her first-career home run leading off the top of the third inning before Georgia Tech center fielder Christy Jones made a stellar catch running into the fence in left-center field.
Arkansas closes out the NFCA Lead-Off Classic on Sunday with a 10 a.m. matchup against Illinois. Rankings based on the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA collegiate softball polls released Tuesday.