The Arkansas Razorback softball team split their first two games of the North Texas Sleep Inn Invitational, losing to North Texas, 10-2, Friday afternoon, and beating Sam Houston State, 12-1, in the night cap.
“Our first game today wasn’t a real good one”, Razorback head coach Mike Larabee said. “We always talk about the three phases, pitching, hitting and defense, and I don’t think we did very well in any of those facets in game one. Between games I told them they still had time to turn it around and it get it right. They came out in game two and it was just a 180-degree difference.”
Arkansas (3-4) wasted no time getting on the board in game two, as Jessica Bachkora lifted Tomi Garrison’s first pitch into right center field for a solo home run. Sam Houston State first baseman Amy Brown would match Bachkora’s feat in the bottom of the first with a solo shot of her own. That was the only the scoring play for the Bearkats.
Freshman pitcher Hope McLemore (2-1) threw six innings, holding the Bearkats to one run on four hits, while striking out eight. Layne McGuirt would finish off the game inside the circle, striking out all three batters she faced. Tomi Garrison (0-1) got the loss.
“Hope has been working the change up well for us.” Larabee said. “You have to have a change up at this level, it’s just such a great equalizer. She competed very well for us tonight and showed a lot of heart.”
The Arkansas offense didn’t get going until the fourth, when left fielder Becca Carden lifted a two-run home run into left field that scored Courtney Breault who had led off the inning with a single. The home run snapped a 0-for-12 streak for Carden at the plate. She ended the contest 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored.
The Hogs added three runs in the fifth, an inning that saw four straight singles by Brittany Robison, Breault, Carden and Jessica Waddle after back-to-back doubles by Brittany Griffiths and Miranda Dixon to lead off the inning. Arkansas led, 6-1, after five.
Senior first baseman Sandra Smith hit a two-run home run in the sixth and a three-run shot in the seventh. Bachkora scored on a passed ball to round out the Arkansas scoring.Smith finished game two 5-5 from the plate with 5 RBI, Bachkora was 2-5 with a run scored and two RBIs.
In game one, North Texas (2-2) started the scoring early, as Megan Rupp reached base to lead off the top of the first inning and would later come around to score. UNT would never surrender the lead.
Lisa Johnson, the UNT designated player led the way, going 2-3 with a hone run and two RBI. Jennifer Smith also hit a home run. She finished the day 1-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Arkansas got on the board in the fourth inning as Lindsey Wells came home to score on an RBI single off the bat of Brittany Robison. Wells was running for Jessica Robison who had singled to lead off the inning. The Hogs’ second run of the game came in the fifth, when Brittany Griffiths reached on an error and was singled in by Jessica Robison.
North Texas scored five runs in the final two innings for a 10-2 victory. The loss dropped Arkansas to 2-4. After losing their first game of the day to Drake, the win vs. Arkansas evened UNT’s record at 2-2.
The Hogs’ game-one starter, Dixon (0-2), allowed five runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking one.Ashley Lail (1-1) threw a gem for the Mean Green. She allowed one earned run on three hits, and stuck out three in a complete-game effort.
Arkansas will face Missouri State and Buffalo Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and finish the weekend Sunday at 11:30 a.m. against Drake. Saturday’s contests will be played at Pioneer Field on the campus of Texas Woman’s University. Sunday’s match up against Drake will be at UNT’s Lovelace Stadium.