FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team dropped a pair of Southeastern Conference games against No. 18/16 Tennessee on Wednesday at Bogle Park.
The Razorback offense produced only four hits in a 3-1 loss in Game One and got behind early in a 5-3 loss in the second game of the doubleheader despite outhitting Tennessee 10-7 and rallying for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Senior third baseman Sandra Smith and junior pitcher Layne McGuirt were responsible for all of Arkansas’ offense on the night as the pair combined to go 5-for- 10 (.500) with four RBIs over the two games. Smith’s solo home run in the first game accounted for the Razorbacks only run of the opener, while in the second game McGuirt collected two solo home runs and Smith drove in the final run.
Arkansas (24-18, 8-8 SEC) will look to return to the win column this weekend when it travels to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game series against SEC Western Division foe LSU.
Tennessee (35-8, 14-4 SEC) runs its conference winning streak to four games and has recorded victories in 11 of its last 12 SEC matchups.
In the first game, the Lady Vols tallied a run in the top of the first inning on an RBI single from right fielder Kat Dotson to take a 1-0 lead. Left fielder Raven Chavanne scored on the play after singling to lead off the game and advancing to second on a stolen base.
Tennessee added a pair of runs in the top of the third to make the score 3-0. Chavanne scored the second run of the game on a throwing error by the second baseman followed by a sacrifice fly by third baseman Jessica Spigner.
Smith cut the Tennessee advantage to 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run to right-center field, her ninth of the season.
Razorback starting pitcher Hope McLemore (12-8) allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts and three hits in five innings. McGuirt pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings while striking out two.
Tennessee freshman Ivy Renfroe (20-2) shutout the Arkansas offense on two hits through 4-1/3 innings while striking out two. Sophomore Cat Hosfield worked the final 2-2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits.
In the finale of the doubleheader, the Razorbacks rallied with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh behind a leadoff home run by McGuirt and an RBI single by Smith, but could not make up the deficit.
In the circle, McGuirt (7-7) pitched her fourth complete game of the season, allowing five runs (one earned) on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. After the first inning, McGuirt surrendered just the one run while allowing only four batters to reach base the rest of the way.
Tennessee again took an early lead with four runs in the top of the first inning. Spigner got the scoring started with an RBI single to center field. Back-to-back RBI hits from designated player Shelby Burchell and first baseman Erinn Webb followed to account for the final three runs of the frame.
The Lady Vols tallied a run in the top of the third on an RBI groundout by second baseman Lauren Gibson to go in front 5-0.
McGuirt cut the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the third on a solo home run to right-center field, her third of the year. McGuirt’s home run in the sixth inning cut the Tennessee advantage to 5-2 followed by Smith’s RBI single to center to make the score 5-3.
Renfroe (21-2) earned her second win of the night after limited the Razorbacks to two runs on six hits through 4-2/3 innings. The freshman did not allow a walk and struck out five. In her 20th start of the year, Hosfield allowed one run on four hits and issued a walk in 2 1/3 innings.
Rankings are based on the ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA collegiate softball poll released Tuesday.