SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Arkansas softball team belted three home runs during Saturday’s doubleheader at Notre Dame but couldn’t complete the sweep, winning game one in a run-rule decision before a seventh-inning rally came up short in game two. Nicole Schroeder, Loren Krzysko and Tori Cooper were responsible for the Razorbacks’ home runs against the Fighting Irish. Arkansas is now 30-19 entering Sunday’s rubber game.
Game 1: Arkansas 13, Notre Dame 2 (5 inn.) | Box Score
Taking a patient approach at the plate in the opening frame, the Razorbacks drew five walks in the first on their way to three runs. Junior shortstop A.J. Belans had the only hit of the inning, an RBI single up the middle to score Russell for the game’s first run. Shelby Hiers and Ashley Diaz drove in runs two and three with bases-loaded walks. It was the 20th time Arkansas scored in the first inning this season.
After a quick first inning by starter Autumn Storms, the offense got right back to work with a five-run outburst in the second. The inning was highlighted by Schroeder’s three-run shot, good for her 14th home run of the season. She moves to within one home run shy of the program’s single-season record of 15 currently shared by Jessica Bachkora and Devon Wallace. The big fly also pushed Arkansas’ season total to 50, the sixth time the program has reached that figure.
With two runs in the third, the Razorbacks reached double figures for the second-consecutive game and 10th time this year. Belans pushed the 10th run across the plate with a sacrifice fly to right field. The home team put a run on the board in the fourth but Arkansas responded with three of its own in the top of the fifth. With the bags full of Razorbacks, Madison Yannetti doubled to left center to clear the bases.
Storms picked up the win with her 11th complete game and becomes the third freshman in program history to reach 15 wins and the first since Heather Schlictman (2001). On her way to victory, Storms allowed two runs on six hits and didn’t walk a hitter for the 13th time in 28 starts. Her 15 wins are tied for the eighth most in a single season by a Razorback pitcher.
Game 2: Notre Dame 6, Arkansas 5 | Box Score
After two scoreless innings, Krzysko opened the scoring in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader with a solo shot off the netting around the outfield at Melissa Cook Stadium. The home run was Krzysko’s second of the season. The redshirt junior continues to thrive since earning a spot in the batting order, reaching safely in 11 straight and hitting .375 as a starter in the past 13 games.
Notre Dame (29-19) tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third and took a 5-1 lead after a four-run fifth inning which including a three-run homer by Morgan Reed. The Razorbacks answered immediately with three runs in the top of the sixth, all on one swing by Cooper. The three-run shot down the line in left field, her 10th of the year, cut Notre Dame’s lead to one. Cooper and Schroeder are the first Razorback teammates with double-digit home runs since 2012 (Wallace/Navarro).
The home team added an insurance run in the sixth which proved to be a difference maker in the game. Trailing by two to start the seventh, Arkansas got a rally started with a one-out hustle double by Ashley Diaz who slid in just ahead of the tag. Pinch hitter Katie Warrick swapped places with pinch runner Haydi Bugarin on an RBI double to the wall in center and once again, the deficit was down to one. However, Notre Dame starter Rachel Nasland retired the next two to end the game.
The weekend finale between Arkansas and Notre Dame is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT). The game will be streamed online at ACC Extra through the WatchESPN app. Arkansas closes out its home schedule May 5-7 when it hosts Georgia at Bogle Park in the regular-season finale for both teams. Game one of the series will be part of the Bases Loaded coverage on the SEC Network.
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