CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – After a delayed start to their season, the Razorbacks opened their 2018 campaign with wins over Grand Canyon and No. 21 Utah on day one of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Arkansas totaled four home runs—three in game one against Grand Canyon—while freshman Mary Haff collected two wins in the circle. Fellow freshman Linnie Malkin had two of the Razorbacks’ four big flies.
Arkansas returns to the Big League Dreams complex Sunday for games against Weber State and Loyola Marymount. First pitch of the day is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CT. The Razorbacks’ remaining three games of the Mary Nutter Classic will be played on the Fenway field.
Game 1: Arkansas 6, Grand Canyon 2 | Box Score
Already ahead thanks to Malkin’s two-run shot in the second inning, the Razorbacks padded their advantage with back-to-back solo home runs by Malkin and Haydi Bugarin in the fourth. The 4-0 lead was more than enough for Haff who recorded seven strikeouts in the complete-game performance.
With GCU runners on first and second and no outs in the second, Haff struck out the next three hitters to get out of trouble. The Winter Haven, Fla., native retired 12 of 13 at one point in the game including 10 in a row. The Lopes broke through with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning but worked a 1-2-3 seventh to record the win.
Malkin opened the scoring with a two-run, no-doubt blast to left field. She becomes the 16th player in program history and just the fifth freshman with two home runs in one game. Tori Cooper and Bugarin added insurance runs with RBI singles in fifth and seventh innings, respectively. Arkansas improves to 10-12 all-time in season openers and has won five of its last eight openers.
Game 2: Arkansas 4, #21 Utah 2 | Box Score
Loren Krzysko was 3-for-4 in the Razorbacks’ second win of the day including a solo home run in the first and the go-ahead, two-run single in the top of the seventh inning. Haff worked three innings of scoreless relief to secure her second win of the day. Over those three innings, she struck out six Utes including the final two hitters of the game.
Krzysko gave Arkansas and starter Autumn Storms an early 1-0 lead but Utah went ahead with two unearned run in its half of the third frame. Storms allowed a one-out double in the fourth but worked out of trouble with a ground ball and fly ball to left. The Razorbacks tied the game at 2-2 when pinch runner Keely Edwards scored on a passed ball in the fourth inning.
Arkansas was retired in order in the fifth and sixth innings before putting together the game-winning rally. Runners were on first and second after back-to-back singles from Bugarin and Autumn Buczek; both advanced when another pitch got away from the Utah catcher. Krzysko delivered with a single back through the circle that plated both runs and put the Razorbacks on top by the eventual winning 4-2 score.
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