Softball ends season at NCAA Regional

NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Arkansas softball team ended its 2008 season at the OU Softball Complex in Norma, Okla., on Saturday night. The Lady Razorbacks finished the year at 37-29 as they were defeated by Oregon (35-29) 3-0. “I want to first off express how proud I am of this ball club,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton. “As disappointing as it is right now, the seniors and the heart of Arkansas softball are really devastated. The team was emotionally spent and after the first inning they did a heck of a job to come out and play. This bunch always has a way of fighting till the last out. We never felt that we were out of the game. We kept putting the ball in play; it just didn’t pan out for us tonight.” The Ducks got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning. Sari-Jane Jenkins reached on a lead-off walk, stole second and was sacrificed to third by Lovena Chaput. Neena Bryant hit a sacrifice fly to center that allowed Jenkins to cross the plate. With two outs, Joanna Gail doubled to left center before Monique Fuiava hit a two-run home run to right center to get Oregon out to a quick 3-0 lead. On two outs in the fourth inning, sophomore Sandra Smith drew a walk and back-to-back singles by junior Whitney Cloer and senior Dayna Huckabee loaded the bases but the Duck defense was able to retire the side with no damage done. Arkansas filled the bases again in the sixth. A lead-off single to left field by junior Kayla Johnson followed by a single through the left side by sophomore Miranda Dixon put two on before Smith drew her 32nd walk of the season to load the bases with Lady’Backs. Two consecutive strikeouts and a groundout left three more on in the game. Senior Katy Henry threw five and one-third innings and kept the Ducks off the scoreboard. The go-to pitcher threw 20 and one-third innings at the regional. “You can only go to the well so many times and Katy pitched her guts out today,” Pinkerton said. Huckabee went 2-for-3 and hit .667 this weekend. Also tallying hits in today’s contest were Johnson, Dixon and Cloer. Arkansas lost an 11-inning battle 6-5 to No. 7 Oklahoma earlier in the day to face Oregon in the nightcap. “The first game was a great game,” said Pinkerton. “It was a great atmosphere and it’s what a regional should be about.” Today’s game marks the last in a Lady’Back uniform for Henry, Huckabee and the third senior, Samantha Buckner. “All of us have worked so hard and we’ve come a really long way,” said Henry. “I’m happy to see how far we’ve come and I’ll be happy to come back next year and sit in the stands and see if they can get back here.” For more information about Arkansas softball, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.