Huckabee sets career home run record Arkansas splits

STARKVILLE, MISS. – University of Arkansas junior Dayna Huckabee broke the career home run record in a doubleheader spilt with Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State, Friday in Starkville, Miss. After dropping game one, 3-1, to the Bulldogs (33-24, 13-14 SEC), the Lady Razorbacks (21-42, 6-21 SEC) were victorious, 11-8, in a tough fought battle in game two. “I have to give the players a lot of credit,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “There was nothing to play for but pride, and the last three games they’ve come out and played hard. I like the way they swung the bats and I thought they hit the ball well today.” After dropping game one, Arkansas jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning in game two. Senior Rachel LeMaster led off with a single to left field and scored on a single to left by junior Samantha Buckner. Freshman Miranda Dixon was hit by the pitch to reach base and crossed home plate on an infield error on a ball hit by sophomore Whitney Cloer. Buckner scored on an infield-RBI single by freshman Brittany Robison, and Cloer scored on a wild pitch. Mississippi State answered with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first to narrow the Lady’Back lead to 4-3. In the second inning, the Bulldogs took the 6-4 lead behind back-to-back singles by Michelle Kinney and Nakita Boyce to lead off the inning. A sacrifice fly from Chelsea Bramlett scored Kinney and an RBI single to center field by Hayle Guess scored Boyce before Guess later crossed home plate on an infield error. The Bulldogs remained ahead one full inning until Arkansas exploded for four more runs in the top of fourth inning. Huckabee led off the inning with a triple to right field followed by a single to right by Robison that knocked in Huckabee. Freshman Jess Reed then reached base on an infield error to put two runners on before sophomore Kayla Johnson pinch hit and blasted a three-run homer to left field to put the Lady’Backs up 8-6. “With Kayla being sick, to come off the bench and hit a three-run homer was huge,” Pinkerton said. The Bulldogs answered again the bottom half of the fourth, plating two runs to even the score 8-8. Katie Cooley hit a two-run home run to center field after Courtney Bures walked on two outs. With the score even in the fifth, Buckner led off the inning with a single through the left side, Cloer walked and Huckabee ripped a single that knocked the glove off of Jessie Bailey’s hand at third base. With the bases loaded, Reed scored Buckner and Cloer on an infield single putting the Lady’Backs back in the lead 10-8. Huckabee added one more run in the seventh when she hit her sixth homer of the season and the 13th of her career to break the career home run record and increase the Lady’Back lead to 11-8. “Dayna came through big for us when we needed it,” said Pinkerton. “She’s been struggling at the plate and I was happy to see her hit the ball well today.” Henry pitched five and two-thirds innings for her 14th win. She allowed two runs on four hits and struck out two. Henry relieved starting pitcher Dixon, after one and one-third innings pitched. Both teams combined for 22 hits and 19 runs in the contest. In game one, Mississippi State jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run home run by Courtney Bures. Jessie Bailey then singled up the middle to score Cooley, who reached on a single to left field. The Lady’Backs scored one run in the fifth after Huckabee led off the inning with a walk and scored later on a bases-loaded RBI single to center field by Bachkora. “We had some opportunities in game one to have a shot at winning, we just left too many runners on base in key situations,” Pinkerton said. The Lady’Backs left eight runners on base in the game, six of which came in back-to-back innings when the bases were loaded and the Bulldog defense kept Arkansas scoreless. After a three-run, five-hit first inning, Henry allowed just two more hits all game to give up three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts. Kelli Miller earned her 16th win of the season giving up one run on seven hits and striking out three. Sara Hickerson picked up her 10th save throwing two innings in relief. The Lady’Backs return to the diamond tomorrow for the final game of the series against Mississippi State. Saturday’s first pitch is at 1 p.m. and is also the final game of the season for Arkansas. For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.