FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas softball team knocked two home runs in its home opener to defeat Bradley, 10-5, Friday on day one of the Holiday Inn-NWA Razorback Invitational. Arkansas (8-7) got home runs from Kayla Johnson and Brittany Robison in its win over the Braves. The nightcap between the Razorbacks and Ball State was suspended in the top of the sixth to be completed Sunday morning at 9 a.m.
In the team’s first regular season game on its new field, Robison hit a grand slam over the left field fence in the top of the sixth inning to help secure the Razorbacks’ victory. Sandra Smith added a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, including a double in the top of the second, the first Razorback hit at Bogle Park. Miranda Dixon picked up her fifth victory of the season, a complete-game effort against Bradley.
The Razorbacks touched up Bradley starter Ashley Birdsong for four runs in the top of the third to take the early lead. Jessica Bachkora led off the inning with a single to right field and stole her ninth base of the year to stand on second. She came around to score on a double down the left field line by Whitney Cloer. Smith drove in Arkansas’ second run with a single up the middle. Johnson delivered the big blow of the inning with a two-run shot to center field, the first Razorback home run at Bogle Park, and Arkansas led 4-0.
Bradley responded with a two-run spot in its half of the third to cut the Razorback lead in half. Amanda Clack had a two-run single to right field to score Janay Mitchell and Lindsay Watkins. The Braves tied the score, 4-4, with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of RBI singles by Mitchell and Denise Jilka.
In the top of the sixth, Smith and Johnson earned their way on base after a pair of walks. With two outs, Amie Hubbard knocked a two-run double to left center to take back the lead for Arkansas, 6-4. The RBIs were the first of the season for Hubbard.
The visitor scored for the third consecutive inning with a run in the bottom of the fifth. With two runners in scoring position, Alycia Bachkora grounded out to shortstop to bring Clack in from third. At the end of five, the Razorbacks held a 6-5 advantage.
After a 34-minute weather delay (lightning), Tori Mort opened the top of the sixth with an infield single and Miranda Dixon was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. After two outs, Johnson worked a walk out of Clack, who replaced Birdsong in the fifth, to load the bases. Robison’s grand slam extended the Razorback lead to its final margin.
In game two, Ball State threatened early and often with at least one base runner in each inning of the game. The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in their half of the third, but Kim Jones struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
The Razorbacks were kept silent through the first three innings of the game with the only base runner coming on a Cardinal error. In the bottom of the fourth, however, Arkansas broke through with an inside-the-park home run by Mort, the Hogs’ first hit of the game. Mort lifted a ball over the head of the BSU left fielder who made a diving attempt to make the catch. Mort never stopped running and slid into home to give the Razorbacks the 1-0 lead.
After Arkansas took the lead, the visitors mounted a rally by loading the bases for the second time, but Jones induced a groundout by Jen Moore to leave the bases full of Cardinals and keep the Razorbacks ahead by one. BSU left 10 runners stranded through the first five innings of play.
Play will resume Sunday morning with runners at first and third for Ball State with Allie Pennock at the plate.
Day two of the Holiday Inn-NWA Razorback Invitational continues Saturday at Bogle Park. Arkansas opens it day with an 11:15 a.m. matchup with Wichita State before a contest with South Dakota State scheduled for 3:45 p.m. All Arkansas games will be broadcast on KXUA (88.3 FM) and ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Holiday Inn-NWA Razorback InvitationalDay One ScoresGame 1: Wichita State 7, South Dakota State 3Game 2: South Dakota State 1, Bradley 0Game 3: Wichita State 10, Ball State 1Game 4: ARKANSAS 10, Bradley 5Game 5: ARKANSAS vs. Ball State (susp. – T6, Ark. leads 1-0)
Day Two ScheduleGame 6: Wichita State vs. Bradley – 9 a.m.Game 7: Wichita State vs. ARKANSAS – 11:15 a.m.Game 8: Bradley vs. Ball State – 1:30 p.m.Game 9: South Dakota State vs. ARKANSAS – 3:45 p.m.Game 10: South Dakota State vs. Ball State – 6 p.m.
Download: Arkansas 10, Bradley 5.pdf