Arkansas softball splits in home opening invitational

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas softball team split a pair of games in its home-opening Clarion Inn-Lady’Back Invitational Friday.

The Lady Razorbacks defeated Missouri-Kansas City in game one and fell to Wichita State in game two.

Arkansas went from tallying seven runs on 11 hits in game one to just one hit and one run in the second game.

“We have to find some consistency in this team,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “We’re up and down and need to settle in.”

In the first game, sophomore Whitney Cloer hit an in-the-park home run to center field in the top of the second inning to give Arkansas a 2-0 lead. Freshman Jessica Bachkora scored from second base on the hit after reaching first base on a fielder’s choice and stealing second.

In the fourth inning, freshman Brittany Robison, who came off of an injury and got her first collegiate start, also got her first collegiate hit, an RBI triple up the middle. Junior Samantha Buckner scored from first base on the hit.

“We wanted to start Brittany and see how she could do,” said Pinkerton. “She came out and did a good job. When we get her back at full strength we’re going to be a lot stronger ball club.”

The Lady’Backs got hot in the sixth inning adding four runs for a 7-0 advantage.

Bachkora led off the inning with a single through the left side and stole second base for her seventh stolen base of the season. A walk and a fielder’s choice then loaded the bases for the Lady’Backs when Robison walked, allowing Bachkora to trot across home plate for a run. A single by senior Rachel LeMaster drove in Cloer and a single by sophomore Kayla Johnson scored pinch runners Hillary Freeman and Jess Reed.

Junior Katy Henry earned the win for Arkansas, improving to 4-3. She threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just one hit and striking out 14 batters.

“Katy gave us what we expect and was a good match up for UMKC,” said Pinkerton. “She’s going to come out and keep us in ball games.”

UMKC’s Alicia Baker picked up the loss in the circle for the Kangaroos, who fell to 0-4.

In the Wichita State game the Shockers lit up the scoreboard with a two-run home run by pitcher Ashley Bright in the top of the fourth inning.

Wichita State added another run in the top of the sixth inning on an Arkansas error and RBI single through the left side by Bright.

Arkansas was kept scoreless and hitless by Bright until the bottom of the seventh inning when Johnson smacked a lead-off home run over the left field fence. Two more strikeouts by Bright and a routine ground out ended the game for the Lady’Backs.

Freshman Miranda Dixon got the start on the mound for the Arkansas allowing three runs on four hits and striking out six before she was relieved by Henry in the top of the seventh.

Bright took care of business on the mound for the Shockers keeping the Lady’Backs off balance with a mix of pitches. She threw a one-hitter, striking out nine batters.

With the victory the Shockers improve to 5-8 while Arkansas falls to 5-7.

The Clarion Inn-Lady’Back Invitational continues tomorrow at Lady’Back Yard with play beginning at 9 a.m. Arkansas takes on Missouri at 1:30 p.m. and Colorado State at 3:45 p.m.

For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM