Lady'Backs Split in Offensive Showcase

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Arkansas softball team defeated Florida, 5-1, Saturday, March 25 after falling, 9-8, in the first game of the doubleheader in Gainesville, Fla.

The Lady Razorbacks (16-15, 5-6) tied the season-high mark of 11 hits in game one. The win is the first over the Gators since (25-11, 4-4) since 2004.

Lady’Back softball coach Jamie Pinkerton said he was disappointed with the outcome of the first game but was pleased with how the team responded.

“The positive was that I liked the way they had heart and desire in the second game,” he said. “They are resilient. Katy (Henry) came out and did a good job.”

In game one, the Lady’Backs scored two runs in the second inning when freshman infielder Carrie Egnor hit a two-RBI double. Freshman infielder Kayla Johnson and senior pitcher Blaire Perry crossed the plate after they reached on a walk and single, respectively.

After Florida answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Arkansas offense added five runs to reclaim the lead, 7-3, in the third inning.

The Lady’Backs recorded five consecutive hits when senior outfielder Mindy O’Malley, junior outfielder Rachel LeMaster, senior catcher Shana Easley and freshman infielder Sandra Smith tallied singles before Johnson drove in two runs with a double to left center. Then with two-outs, sophomore infielder Dayna Huckabee cleared the bases with a two-RBI double.

The Gators responded with two runs to cut into the Lady’Backs 7-5 advantage before Florida scored three runs on two hits and two Arkansas errors to regain the lead, 8-7. Both teams went on to add a run in the fifth.

In the circle, the Lady’Backs and Gators both threw three pitchers. Perry started the game for Arkansas and was relieved in the third inning by junior Kayce Odle and sophomore Katy Henry. Odle (2-4) took the loss.

Offensively, LeMaster, Johnson and Huckabee led the team with two hits apiece. Huckabee recorded a pair of doubles and a team-high three RBIs.

In the second game, the Lady’Back offensive continued in the first inning when Arkansas took a 3-0 lead. O’Malley and Easley had singles while the Lady’Backs took advantage of three Florida errors. The Gators scored a run in the forth inning with a two-hit, two-out rally to get on the board, 3-1.

Arkansas countered with two runs to increase its lead, 5-1, on three hits including a double by Easley and a Smith sacrifice fly.

Henry (9-5) collected the win as she recorded 10 strikeouts while only giving up three hits in a complete-game performance with freshman catcher Whitney Cloer and LeMaster going 2-for-3 at the plate.

While the series concludes Sunday at noon, Pinkerton said he is optimistic about the third game after the Lady’Backs recorded 13 runs and 20 hits in the doubleheader.

“This is the best we’re swung the bats all year. If we’re focused and play well for seven innings, we have a shot to win every game.”

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