FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team fell twice to Western Illinois at Lady’Back Yard Wednesday.
The Westerwinds (5-11) rallied late for a 3-1 victory in game one and defeated the Lady Razorbacks (10-19) 2-1 in game two.
“We had some pitching today, but when you only score one run you’re not going to win,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “The players are all great athletes and have the talent, but we’ve got to learn how to make our own breaks and fight through adversity. Give credit to Western Illinois, they came in and played well and won two games.”
Game one was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when on two outs sophomore Kayla Johnson hit a line drive to right field which scored junior Dayna Huckabee from second base and gave the Lady’Backs the 1-0 lead. Huckabee reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second.
With a one-run lead, two on and two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Westerwind’s rallied for three runs. Amy Douglas smacked a two-RBI double to right center before Britt Mason singled, scoring Douglas from second for the 3-1 lead.
Despite a lead-off single by junior Samantha Buckner and a one out single by senior Rachel LeMaster in the bottom of the inning, Western Illinois held on for the 3-1 victory.
Junior pitcher Katy Henry took the loss, throwing a complete game. She allowed three runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four.
Collecting hits for the Lady’Backs in the first game were LeMaster (3), Buckner (2), Johnson and freshmen Jessica Bachkora and Jess Reed.
In game two, Western Illinois got out to a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning after Samantha Valentine scored from third base on an infield single from Douglas. Valentine led-off with a double to deep center field and advanced to third on an Arkansas error.
The Westerwinds added a run in the top of the sixth inning when Valentine hit a lead-off single and scored from third on a squeeze bunt by Douglas.
Arkansas got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning, after a Huckabee triple to right field. Hulsey scored from first base on the hit, narrowing the gap 2-1.
Freshman Teighynne Hulsey started in the circle pitching five innings before she was relieved by Henry. Hulsey allowed one run on five hits, and tallied eight strikeouts, tying her career high.
“Teighynne gave us a good outing,” said Pinkerton. “As long as she can hits spots and mix speeds, she’s going to be an asset for us. She’s a gamer and I’m proud of the way she’s battled.”
The Lady’Backs return to action this weekend competing at the Big Red Tournament in Lincoln, Neb. Play begins Friday as Arkansas faces Nebraska and North Dakota State in the three-day event.
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