FAYETTEVILLE – A three-run home run by Arkansas center fielder Jessica Bachkora in the bottom of the ninth led the Razorbacks to a 5-3 victory over Louisiana Tech and the Arkansas Invitational championship Sunday afternoon at Bogle Park.
Bachkora finished the day 5-for-7 with three home runs, two doubles, five RBIs and four runs. She paced the team on the weekend with a .545 average (6-for-11), seven RBIs and a 1.636 slugging percentage.
Arkansas (15-8) finished the tournament undefeated and is on a six-game winning streak entering the start of conference play this week.
Twelve hits including four home runs carried Arkansas to a 9-3 victory over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the first game of the day before the come-from-behind win in the night cap.
Against Louisiana Tech (11-9), the two teams were tied after seven innings which put the international tie break rule into effect, allowing each team to start the inning with a runner at second base. Louisiana Tech and Arkansas traded runs in the eighth inning and the Lady Techsters took a brief 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth
The Razorbacks took a 1-0 lead with a run in the fifth inning on an RBI single by left fielder Brittany Robison.
An RBI single from Louisiana Tech catcher Jessica Kirby then tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the sixth.
Arkansas starting pitcher Hope McLemore (8-3) did allow a hit through the first five innings and retired 15 of the first 18 batters that she faced. McLemore allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits through nine innings while striking out seven.
Junior pitcher Meghan Krieg (7-8) surrendered five runs (three earned) on fix hits with six walks and seven strikeouts in her 15th start of the season.
Against SIUE (12-12), the Razorbacks offense came alive with their second highest hit total of the season to earn a 9-3 victory. Four different Razorbacks collected multiple hits including left fielder Becca Carden and first baseman Sandra Smith.
Bachkora led off the top of the third inning with a solo home run, her sixth of the season, to give the Razorbacks an early 1-0 lead.
By scoring against SIUE in the third inning, Bachkora scored the 125th run of her career, breaking the school record previously held by former Arkansas infielder Kayla Johnson.
A three-run bottom of the fourth put Southern Illinois in front by the score of 3-1. Shortstop Kasey Schlafke drove in the first run with an RBI single up the middle to score third baseman Lauren Zemnruski who reached on a walk. The second and third runs of the inning scored on an error by the shortstop.
Arkansas took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth on Bachkora’s second solo home run of the game and a two-run home run by Smith. Carden scored on Smith’s fifth homer of the season after reaching base on a single.
The Razorbacks extended their lead to 9-3 with five runs in the top of the seventh inning. A two-run double by Smith and a three-run home run to center field by second baseman Courtney Breault accounted for the scoring.
Arkansas starting pitcher Layne McGuirt (4-2) allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits while walking one and striking out a career-high seven batters in her third complete game of the season.
Southern Illinois starter Erika Taylor took the loss to fall to 11-7 on the season. Taylor surrendered nine runs on 12 hits while striking out two and walking one.
Arkansas returns to action Wednesday when it begins Southeastern Conference play with a double header against South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. The Razorbacks then travel to Lexington, Ky., for a three-game series with the Wildcats.