ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Arkansas softball extended its winning streak in Southeastern Conference play to six games after a sweep of a doubleheader against No. 8/11 Georgia on Friday at the UGA Softball Complex.
The Razorbacks are 8-2 to open conference play this season, a mark that represents the best start to SEC play in school history. The back-to-back wins over Georgia represent the first time Arkansas has accomplished that feat since 2001. That year was also the last time Arkansas has defeated the Bulldogs in a three-game series.
Arkansas freshman first baseman Stephanie Brewer drove in right fielder Tori Mort with a sacrifice fly in the eighth to give the Razorbacks a 3-2 extra-inning victory in the first game of the doubleheader while the offense exploded for 10 runs on 10 hits in the nightcap to claim a 10-5 win.
Arkansas (24-12) has now won 15 of its last 19 games and will be looking to complete the three-game sweep of Georgia when the two teams return to action with a single game Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. CDT.
Georgia (25-8, 5-6 SEC) falls for only the fifth and sixth times at home this season, having entered the series with an 18-4 record at UGA Softball Stadium.
The Arkansas offense came out firing in the second game as they scored six runs on four hits in the top of the first to take an early 6-0 lead. A two-RBI double by right field Brittany Robison and a two-run home run by catcher Jessica Waddle, the first on her career, accounted for four of the six runs that all came with two outs in the inning.
Georgia designated pitcher Ashley Raze hit a two-run home run in the home half of the first to make the score 6-2.
The Razorbacks tallied a run in the top of the third as second baseman Courtney Breault scored from third on a wild pitch to extend the Arkansas lead to 7-2.
The Bulldogs cut the Arkansas lead to 7-5 on a three-run home run by left fielder Megan Wiggins in the bottom of the third inning.
Arkansas took a 10-5 lead in the top of the sixth inning on a three-run home run by senior Miranda Dixon, her 10th of the season. Dixon drove in Sandra Smith and Brittany Griffiths who each reached base on a walk.
Arkansas junior Layne McGuirt (7-5) did not allow a run on one hit in four innings. She walked three and struck out one. Starting pitcher Chelsea Cohen worked three innings, giving up five runs on three hits while issuing one walk.
Georgia starter Katie Murphy (2-2) surrendered three runs on one hit with one walk in just a third of an inning. Sophomore Erin Arevalo allowed seven runs on nine hits in 5-1/3 innings while walking three and striking out eight. Alison Owen worked a scoreless seventh inning.
In the first game, Razorbacks starting pitcher Hope McLemore (12-4) retired the Georgia batters in order in the bottom of the eighth to give Arkansas its first win this year over a ranked opponent.
McLemore kept the Bulldog hitters off balance throughout the game and worked around 11 hits to surrender only two runs in eight innings. The freshman from Oklahoma walked only two and struck out 10.
Georgia tallied the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Ashley Pauly to make the score 1-0.
Arkansas took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning on a pair of back-to-back RBI hits from Smith and Dixon. Smith drove in Mort with a triple to right-center field to tie the game, which Dixon followed with a single to send home pinch runner Amanda Summerford. Smith and Dixon combined to go 4-for-7 in the game with two RBIs.
The Bulldogs tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run by left fielder Megan Wiggins, her seventh of the season, to lead off the inning. Georgia threatened to walk off with the win as the next two batters reached base on a single and a walk respectively, but failed to do so as Arkansas shortstop converted a spectacular double play to record the first two outs of the innings.
Georgia starting pitcher Sarah McCloud (4-1) allowed three runs on six hits through seven innings while walking four and striking out five. Owen retired the three hitters she faced to close out the top of the eighth. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on KXUA Fayetteville (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com, which will also carry live stats for the game.
Rankings are based on the ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA collegiate softball poll released Tuesday.