Arkansas softball 3-0 in fall opener

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team went 3-0 in its first fall tournament Saturday at Lady’Back Yard. The Lady Razorbacks defeated Connors State College 6-2, Evangel University 8-0 and Carl Albert State College 12-1. The Lady’Backs hit .424 as a team and 11 players ended the day with batting averages of .500 or better. “I was pleased with the mindset of the team when they came out today,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton “They were focused from the get-go and knew they had a job to do. The players that we needed to lead the way really stepped up today, and we were patient at the plate. When you hit .424 as a team you’re doing a lot of things right. Defensively, it was anything like a normal first outing. The speed of the game will come the more we’re outside.” Leading Arkansas offensively was sophomore Sandra Smith and freshman Leslie Dixon. Smith was 3-for-5 with a double and a home run, one run scored and five RBIs. Dixon hit .750 with three runs and three RBIs. Senior Samantha Buckner also went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. Sophomore Jessica Bachkora added five hits, four runs and three RBIs from the lead-off spot. In the Lady’Backs’ opening game against Connors, junior Whitney Cloer and sophomore Miranda Dixon were on base in the third inning when Smith singled up the middle driving in Cloer for Arkansas’ first run of the season. M. Dixon scored on a two-out single to right field by Buckner. Connors answered in the top of the top of the fourth with two runs off of two Arkansas errors. In the bottom of the fourth the Lady’Backs added three runs behind an RBI single from Cloer and a two-RBI double by Smith. Arkansas scored one more in the fifth for a 6-2 lead after Buckner singled to center field and scored off of a line-drive single up the middle by Bachkora. Dixon picked up the win from the circle throwing four innings and holding Connors to two hits with two strikeouts. The Lady’Backs got off to a quick 1-0 lead against Evangel. In the first inning, Bachkora led off with a single up the middle, stole second and moved to third on a fly out to right field. Buckner’s sacrifice fly to center field easily scored Bachkora from third. In the second inning, Reed reached base on a walk and scored when Bachkora singled through the right side on two outs. Arkansas cushioned its lead in the third with three more runs. Buckner singled before sophomore Jessica Waddle hit a double to deep left field. With two outs L. Dixon singled, driving in both runners. L. Dixon scored later that inning on a dropped fly ball by Evangel. A 30 minute rain delay slowed the game a bit, but in the fourth inning Freeman walked and scored after Huckabee smacked a triple to right center. Freshman Amanda Caldwell followed with a towering sacrifice fly to right field that scored Huckabee and put the Lady’Backs up 8-0. Henry struck out 11 in just four innings to earn the victory on the mound. “I was extremely pleased with our pitching staff,” Pinkerton said. “Katy was dominating against Evangel.” Carl Albert jumped out to the 1-0 lead in Arkansas’ third game of the day. Lead-off batter Megan McDaniel reached base on a bunt and scored on a single down the right field line. Arkansas answered immediately in the bottom of the inning with a two-run home run by Smith. Smith scored Bachkora who led off with an infield single. L. Dixon led off the second inning with single before Bachkora hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score L. Dixon. In the third inning, Smith walked and touched the plate after L. Dixon hit her second single of the game. Huckabee also scored giving the Lady’Backs a 5-1 lead. Arkansas ended the day with fireworks and exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth. Hulsey pushed two across with a double to left center and scored off of a double by freshman Lauren Chisom that bounced off the center field fence. Junior Hillary Freeman drove in two more runs with a line-drive single to left and freshman Emily Jones added a two-RBI single to center. “We’re looking forward to coming out again next week,” said Pinkerton. “In these types of tournaments we’re trying to find out who we are. We got better today and hopefully we’ll continue to take steps forward this fall.” The Lady’Backs continue their fall season next weekend hosting Texarkana, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Tulsa at Lady’Back Yard on Sunday, Sept. 23. Arkansas plays at 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. For more information about Arkansas softball or for schedule information, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.