BOCA RATON, Fla. – The University of Arkansas softball team opened its 2015 season Friday afternoon with a pair of losses to Penn State and host Florida Atlantic at the FAU Kick-Off Classic. Among the highlights were seven extra-base hits in a 12-7 loss to FAU and a seventh-inning rally that came up short in a 6-4 loss to the Nittany Lions. The Razorbacks (0-2) return to the field Saturday to face LIU-Brooklyn and Kansas on day two of the season-opening tournament.
Penn State 6, Arkansas 4
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, Parker Pocklington and Madison Yannetti came around to score on a pitch that got away from the catcher. Kasey Fagan followed with a base hit to right field that plated Devon Wallace and cut the Penn State lead to two runs. The late-inning rally was cut short by a groundball out. Wallace reached base in all four plate appearance including three walks and a bunt single.
Sierra Bronkey drove in the first run of the season with an RBI single in the first inning that brought Fagan around to score from second. The Nittany Lions responded with six unanswered runs before Arkansas’ push in the seventh. Grace Moll, Friday’s starter, took the loss while freshman Allison Stewart worked 3.2 innings in her collegiate debut.
Florida Atlantic 12, Arkansas 7
The Razorbacks jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first against FAU after a grand slam off the bat of Nicole Schroeder. The home team twice in its half of the first and tacked on runs in the second and third to pull even. Arkansas regained the lead in the fourth on an RBI triple by Stephanie Canfield, her first of two three-baggers in the game. With the score tied once again to begin the fifth, Wallace gave the Razorbacks a 7-5 advantage with a two-run double down the line in left.
However, FAU scored seven unanswered runs to secure the final lead change. Rachel Box came off the bench with one out for a pinch-hit double in the seventh but the game ended two hitters later with a ground ball to third. Three Arkansas hitters—Canfield, Fagan and Autumn Russell—posted multi-hit efforts in the game. Haley Meinen took the loss for the Razorbacks. Dating back to the end of the 2014 season, Wallace has now reached base in 31-consecutive games.
• With three walks vs. Penn State, Wallace moved into tie for eighth place in NCAA history with 193 career walks.
• Career Firsts:
o Hit > Rachel Box (double, seventh inning vs. FAU)
o Hit > Loren Krzysko (double, fourth inning vs. FAU)
o Hit > Autumn Russell (bunt single, second inning vs. FAU)
o Hit > Madison Yannetti (single, third inning vs. FAU)
o Run > Tori Cooper (seventh inning vs. Penn State)
o Strikeout > Haley Meinen (swinging, sixth inning vs. FAU)
o Strikeout > Allison Stewart (swinging, fourth inning vs. Penn State)
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