Arkansas drops two to Auburn

AUBURN, ALA. – The University of Arkansas softball team dropped a Southeastern Conference doubleheader to Auburn on Tuesday evening at Jane B. Moore Field. The Lady Razorbacks (21-11, 1-7 SEC) lost to the Tigers (27-4, 7-1 SEC) 9-6 and 5-3.

“Our bats kept us in the game, we just didn’t make plays when we had to make plays,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton.

Arkansas got out to a quick start in the top of the first. Junior Kayla Johnson and sophomore Miranda Dixon drew back to back walks putting runners on first and second before sophomore Sandra Smith hit a fly ball that was caught at the warning track. The deep fly ball allowed Johnson to advance to third. With two outs, Cloer drove a single up the middle that plated Johnson from third to give Arkansas the 1-0 lead.

Auburn answered in the bottom of the inning. Lead-off batter Brittany Scott reached on an infield error and was sacrificed to second by Myesha Finney. Scott scored on a one-out single to left center from Taryn Gray. Gray advanced to second on the throw and a double from Tatiana Fernandez scored Gray. Starr Dorsey then singled through the right side to score one more run to put Auburn up 3-1 before she was caught stealing second for the third out of the inning.

Auburn exploded for five runs off of five hits in the second, all of which came on two outs. A one-run double right center by Gray and a three-run home run to left field from Fernandez highlight the inning. Auburn took the 8-1 lead, forcing freshman Layne McGuirt to relieve Henry in the circle. McGuirt got the final out of the inning on a foul fly out.

Arkansas took back two runs in the third behind the bat of Dixon. Johnson had a lead-off single to get on base before Dixon hit a two-run home run to right field to make the score 8-3.

In the top of the fourth Auburn starting pitcher Brittany Day was relieved by Angel Bunner after walking senior Samantha Buckner for her third walk of the game. Sophomore Brittany Robison reached on an Auburn error and sophomore Teighynne Hulsey walked to load the bases before Johnson reached base on an another Auburn error and Robison scored, shortening Auburn’s lead 8-4.

In the bottom of the inning, Scott drew a walk on one out and a two-out, a one-run single from Gray increased Auburn’s lead to 9-4.

In the sixth, Moncrief led off with the first double of her career to right field. With one out, Johnson hit a two-run home run to center field to bring Arkansas within three, 6-9.

Anna Thompson came in in the sixth to close things out and earn her fourth save of the year. Day improved to 8-1 with the win.

Henry (10-5) picked up the loss after just one and two-thirds innings of work. She gave up eight runs on eight hits and struck out two. McGuirt threw four and one-thirds innings giving up just one run one hit, walking one and striking out one.

“Layne held Auburn at bay and gave us an opportunity to get back in the game,” said Pinkerton.

Cloer was 3-for-4 extending a six-game hitting streak. Johnson was 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBI. Dixon also batted .667 with one run and two RBI.

After six straight outs to begin the second game, Arkansas got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second. With two outs, Huckabee hit her first single of the day through the left side before Buckner stepped to the plate hitting a two-run bomb to left field to put Arkansas up 2-0.

In the bottom of the inning, Fernandez led off with a line-drive single to center. With one out, Dorsey tripled on a ball that bounced back in off the top of the center-field wall, but not before pinch runner Megan Mitchell scored from first. Jorja Bell followed with a fly ball to left field. Robison came up with a strong through to the plate on Dorsey, but the ball bounced off of Dorsey’s helmet a few steps from home plate and her run tied the game at 2-2.

In the top of the third, back-to-back doubles by Hulsey and Dixon moved Arkansas back in the lead 3-2.

In the bottom of the inning, Gray reached base on a fielder’s choice and scored from first on a double to right center by Fernandez, evening the game at three apiece.

Arkansas went scoreless in the top of the fourth, but in the bottom of the inning Krista Clyde plated Dorsey on a single up the middle and Auburn took its first lead of the game, 4-3. Henry relieved Dixon after the run was scored. The Tigers loaded the bases but a fielder’s choice, a strikeout and a fly out ended the inning with minimal damage.

In the fifth, Fernandez led off with a home run to left field increasing the Tiger’s lead 5-3.

Arkansas went down in order in the next two innings, leaving Auburn with the win.

Thompson improved to 9-3 throwing a complete game. She struck out seven and gave up three runs on six hits.

Dixon fell to 8-4 with the loss. Dixon threw three innings giving up four runs on six hits and fanning two. In relief, Henry threw three innings giving up one run on two hits and tallying three K’s.

Huckabee was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Buckner, Dixon and Hulsey were 1-for-3. Buckner had two RBI and Dixon had one.

Arkansas returns to Lady’Back Yard for a three-game SEC series against No. 8 Tennessee on Friday and Saturday.

For more information and tickets please call the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.