FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 22 University of Arkansas softball team defeated the Auburn Tigers, 6-0, on Friday at Bogle Park.
In the third inning, Devon Wallace drew her second walk of the game and became the new SEC single-season walks leader. Her 67th walk of the season helped her pass Cassie Reilly-Boccia of Alabama, who set the record in 2010. Wallace finished the game with three walks.
“Devon has 68 walks this season, that’s unbelievable,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “To set an SEC record as a sophomore just shows how great her plate discipline is.”
Arkansas (32-17, 10-10) was led in the circle by sophomore Kimmy Beasley. She went seven scoreless innings and recorded a career-high 15 strikeouts. The Foreman, Ark. native allowed four hits and walked one batter for her ninth win of the season.
“She got into some jams,” Larabee said. “But the way she is pitching right now, her strikeouts will get her out of those jams. She had some big strikeouts tonight and we played great defense.”
At the plate it was Amanda Geile who had the big hit for the Hogs. She belted a two-run homerun over the rightfield fence in the fourth inning. The two-out round-tripper was Geile’s fourth homerun of the season. Sierra Bronkey also notched two RBIs in the game on a double in the fifth inning.
“We haven’t played since last Friday,” Larabee said. “It took our players a little while to get going. We started to make adjustments and Geile’s bomb got us going.”
Beasley came out of the gate strong and retired the first three batters of the game, striking out Morgan Estell in the process.
Wallace walked to begin the bottom of the first and tied the SEC single-season walks record with her 66th walk of the season. The sophomore stole second and advanced to third on a Chloe Oprzedek groundout, but was stranded to end the inning.
Arkansas’ starter, Beasley, continued to dominate into the third. She struck out five straight batters before Baylee Stephens reached on an error. Beasley battled back and worked a 1-2 count to Estell before she flew out.
Wallace drew her second walk of the game in the third inning, making her the new SEC single-season walks leader. However, she was retired on a fielder’s choice in the next at-bat. Oprzedek followed with a two-out walk to put two runners on for Jennifer Rambo. She worked a 3-2 count but eventually flew out to rightfield.
Auburn started the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles from Tiffany Howard and Emily Carosone, putting runners at the corners with zero outs. After Carsone stole second base, Beasley knuckled down and struck out Brooke Lathan and Branndi Maelero. She then walked Caitlin Schultze but struck out Caitlin Jordan to end the top half of the inning and give her nine strikeouts in the game.
Stephanie Canfield belted a one-out double into the leftfield wall in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Two batters later she was plated on Geile’s two-run blast over the rightfield wall. Her fourth homerun of the year gave Arkansas a 2-0 lead.
After Beasley struck out the side in the top of the fifth, Wallace walked for the third time of the game. She was retired on a fielder’s choice on the next pitch for out number one. Oprzedek followed with a single up the middle and Rambo walked to load the bases. Bronkey ripped a two-run double off of the top of the leftfield wall that scored Clarisa Navarro and Oprzedek. Canfield followed the double and hit a hard grounder to the second-baseman, Kelsey Bogaards. She couldn’t come up with the ball and it scooted into rightfield. Bronkey and pinch-running Ashley Martindale scored on the play to give Arkansas a 6-0 lead.
After a single from Howard, Beasley recorded her 13th strikeout, a new career-high, for out number one in the sixth. She also struck out Schultze to end the inning and keep the Tigers scoreless.
The bottom of the sixth started with senior Andrea Sullivan reaching base. Her classmate, Hope McLemore then came on to pinch run, but was retired on a fielder’s choice. Navarro followed with a single up the middle, but was left stranded.
Beasley came out and slammed the door with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. She struck out Bogaards in the inning to bump her total to 15 in the game. Her second complete game shutout of the year gave Arkansas a 6-0 win.
Next up will be game two of the Auburn series at Bogle Park. The Saturday game will also be senior day for the Razorbacks. Arkansas will recognize its four seniors with a pregame ceremony. The game is slated to begin at 1 p.m.
Download: AU Game One.pdf