TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 24 University of Arkansas softball team dropped its Southeastern Conference opener Friday in a 9-0 setback to ninth-ranked Alabama. The Razorbacks had two runners on in each of the last two innings but couldn’t get a timely hit to crack the scoreboard. Nicole Schroeder walked in both of her plate appearances and has now reached base safely in all 21 games this season.
Final: #9 Alabama 9, #24 Arkansas 0 (5 inn.) | Box Score
Limited through the first three innings to a Schroeder walk in the first, Arkansas (19-2, 0-1 SEC) had its first scoring threat in the fourth. Schroeder drew her second walk of the game and Tori Cooper followed with a base hit to right to give the team runners at first and second with one out. However, Alabama starter Alexis Osorio responded with consecutive strikeouts to keep the Razorbacks off the board.
Facing a run-rule decision, Arkansas had a similar opportunity in the fifth. Madison Yannetti drew a one-out walk and moved up to second when lead-off hitter Shelby Hiers earned a walk of her own. The threat and game ended with a fly out to left field. Caroline Hedgcock made her first start in the order and was robbed of a base hit by a diving catch by Alabama’s Demi Turner at second base. Hedgcock also appeared in the circle, retiring the final two hitters of the fourth on three pitches.
Grace Moll allowed five runs on two hits but walked four in 1.2 innings of work to suffer her first loss of the season. Alabama (22-2, 1-0 SEC) scored in each of its four chances at the plate including a pair of three-run innings in the second and fourth to open its lead. Bailey Hemphill led the Crimson Tide’s offense with three hits and four RBI in the conference opener.
The Razorbacks return to the field Saturday for game two of the SEC opener, scheduled for a 5 p.m. (CT) first pitch that will be televised on the SEC Network. Trey Bender and Leigh Ross will handle the play-by-play and analyst duties, respectively. Arkansas’ SEC home opener is March 17-19 when it hosts No. 15 Tennessee at Bogle Park.
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