FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team dropped game three of the Southeastern Conference opener 2-0 against the 24th-ranked Auburn Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Bogle Park, giving the Razorbacks a 0-3 start in conference play.
Arkansas (9-15, 0-3 SEC) held the Tigers to just two runs off five hits on the game. Senior pitcher Kim Jones went the distance on Sunday with four strikeouts and just two runs. Auburn moves to 22-2 on the season and 3-0 in SEC play.
"You gave to give credit to Kim Jones for pitching like she did," head coach Mike Larabee said. "It’s just a game of inches and unfortunately it just didn’t go our way. She may have made a mistake on that next hitter with the home run, but once again, we had our opportunities today."
Scoreless until the top of the fifth, the Razorback picked up a base hit by senior Becca Carden out to right field. Stephanie Brewer followed with a walk to place runners on first and second. With two outs, designated player Jennifer Rambo came up with a shot to second to get out at first.
Arkansas held the Tigers to just one hit until their half of the fifth when a triple the warning track at center put the runner in scoring position. Hilary Mavromat came up with two-run home run over the left field wall.
The Razorbacks made an attempt again in the seventh a single by Rambo out to right field and a walk by catcher Jayme Gee. A pop out to first by Brittany Griffiths got the first out and Larabee brought in senior Layne McGuirt to pinch hit in hopes of bringing in the runners on first and second. McGuirt struck out, bringing in Amanda Caldwell to pinch hit for freshman Ashley Martindale. Caldwell popped the ball up to the pitcher to give Auburn the three-game sweep and the 2-0 win on Sunday.
"You know, you can try to overanalyze it, but the big thing is, in the series this weekend we had our opportunities. Against a good club like Auburn, you got to get that key hit and we did not get that key hit in any of the games," Larabee said. "We just have to keep working hard and stay positive; bring your lunch pail to practice and keep working."
The Razorbacks continue at Bogle Park with a doubleheader against Kentucky on Wednesday, March 16, with the first game beginning at 4 p.m.