CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – Behind big hits and strong pitching, the University of Arkansas softball team posted wins over New Mexico and George Washington Friday afternoon at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, including the team’s first run-rule victory of the season. The Razorbacks combined for three home runs and 13 strikeouts to improve their record to 3-4 through the first seven games of the season.
Arkansas returns to the Big League Dreams Complex Saturday for two more games with contests against Binghamton at 11:30 a.m. (CT) and Army West Point at 2:30 p.m. All games this weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic are being streamed via subscription through FloSoftball.
Game 1 – Arkansas 2, New Mexico 1 | Box Score
In the first-ever meeting between the two programs, Arkansas got seventh-inning sacrifice fly from freshman Ashley Diaz to secure the one-run victory over the Lobos. Lauren Archuleta and Stephanie Canfield led off the home half with back-to-back hits through the right side and advanced on a ground ball by Autumn Russell. With one out and playing back in her home state, Diaz lifted the ball deep to center field to bring Archuleta home for the win.
The South El Monte, Calif., native also drove in the Razorbacks’ first run of the game with a single in the third inning that tied the game. Once again, it was Archuleta who came in to score on the play. The redshirt freshman catcher reached base in all three of her plate appearance with a base hit and a pair of walks.
Grace Moll picked up her second win of the season with a complete-game effort in which she registered a career-high nine strikeouts. Facing various scoring threats throughout the game, Moll saved her best pitching for those tight situations. New Mexico got its lead-off hitter on base in four of the first six innings but were held to just one run in the second. Moll’s nine-strikeout effort bettered her previous high of eight against Jackson State during her freshman season.
Game 2 – Arkansas 8, George Washington 0 (5 inn.) | Box Score
The Razorbacks wasted little time in jumping out to an early 3-0 lead after the first inning. Canfield got things going with her school-record 13th career triple and came home to score on a hit to shallow left field that Russell turned into a double with her speed. With one out, California native Nicole Schroeder tallied her second home run of the season, a two-run shot deep to left field.
That was more than enough for Claire Clark who was making her first start of the season inside the circle. She faced her biggest challenge in the second inning when the Colonials had two on with one out but the senior pitcher responded with a fly out and a strikeout to keep the shutout alive. Clark struck out four hitters and allowed just one hit in four innings of work before giving way to freshman Peyton Carter who entered in the fifth to preserve the combined shutout.
Clark helped herself at the plate, as well, with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Back-to-back solo shots—Parker Pocklington added a round tripper after Clark—the Razorbacks led 6-0. Canfield collected her first RBI of the season with a single to end the scoring in the fourth. Needing just one run to end the game in the bottom of the fifth, the Razorbacks put runners on the corner with one out. Pinch runner Haydi Bugarin scored on a misplayed pop fly to shallow left to end the game.
Following the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, the Razorbacks will return to Fayetteville for their home opener Feb. 27-28 at Bogle Park. Arkansas is set to host Drake and UMKC for the 2016 Razorback Invitational, playing each team twice during the weekend tournament. The team’s SEC home opener is scheduled for March 25-27 when it hosts No. 19 Kentucky.
Season tickets are now on sale for $45 through the Razorback Ticket Center. For more information about purchasing season tickets, call 800-982-HOGS (4647) or 479-575-5151, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Razorback Ticket Center located next to Baum Stadium. For more information about Arkansas softball, follow @RazorbackSB on Twitter.