CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Arkansas softball team broke its three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over East Tennessee State in the third game of the USF Under Armour Invitational, but suffered a 8-0 loss to No. 5 Michigan on Saturday.
The Razorbacks (8-11) picked up a 4-2 win over ETSU off seven hits and two errors. Arkansas started things off in the second with a single by Stephanie Brewer up the third base line and a short single to second by leadoff hitter Macy Burr in the third.
ETSU was first to plate a run in the third inning off a single to center to bring around the leadoff hitter after she reached on an error by third baseman Jessica Robison.
In Arkansas’ half of the fourth inning, sophomore Courtney Breault hit a single to second after Becca Carden reached on an error. The Hogs loaded the bases with a walk by Robison to bring senior Amanda Caldwell to the plate. Caldwell hit a game-changing triple down the middle to bring in three runs and give the Razorbacks a 3-2 lead over ETSU.
"Amanda Caldwell came up big for us today," head coach Mike Larabee said. "She hit a bases-loaded triple and at that point in time we were struggling to get runners on base and she really came through for us."
ETSU opened its half of the fourth with a solo homerun by the shortstop over the left side. Sophomore pitcher Hope McLemore was quick to recover with two strikeouts and an assist to first to get the three outs.
Arkansas sealed the win with a single up the middle by freshman Chloe Oprzedek in the top of the seventh. She plated the run off a single to center by Tori Mort. Oprzedek had two stolen bases in the game to bring her season total to four.
"Chloe Oprzedek had a couple stolen bases for us today and ran the bases really well for us. I thought Hope threw a really good game today. She had nine strikeouts and was really in command today," Larabee said. "All in all it was really good to get the win after yesterday."
McLemore worked seven complete innings in the circle to pick up her third win of the season. Her nine-strikeout, four hit complete game against the Buccaneers was McLemore’s third win of the season. She allowed just one earned run and no walks.
Arkansas ended the day with a tough 8-0 loss to fifth-ranked Michigan in five innings. Sophomore transfer Linnea Ketcher went three-for-three at the plate with three base hits and two stolen bases. Ketcher accounted for three of the Razorbacks six hits against the Wolverines.
"Michigan is an outstanding ball club. I think they have one of the best pitchers in college softball and she was pretty dominant tonight," Larabee said. "We did have six hits off her. Kudos to Linnea Ketcher, she went three-for-three against one of the top pitchers in the nation."
Oprzedek, Brewer and Ashley Martindale collected the other three hits for Arkansas. Brewer had a base hit up the middle for Arkansas in the second inning and Oprzedek got on base with a slap up to short and a stolen base in the third. Martindale came in as a pinch hitter and got the final hit of the game with a short shot to the pitcher.
"Tomorrow is going to be a tough game. Loyola Marymount beat South Florida 7-2, and we lost to USF yesterday so we’ve got to come out ready to go tomorrow," Larabee said. "It’s going to be a tough game and we have to be ready to compete."
Arkansas meets Loyola Marymount on Sunday morning for the final game of the USF Under Armour Invitational. The game is set for 8:30 CT at Eddie C. Moore Field in Clearwater, Fla.