UA Softball Takes Three in Fall Opener

FAYETTEVILLE—The University of Arkansas softball team completed a three-game sweep in the first scrimmage of the fall season. The Lady Razorbacks defeated Bacone College, 1-0, Connors State, 5-1 and Neosho County 6-2 at Lady’Back Yard. Head coach Jamie Pinkerton said he was delighted with the Lady’Backs performance. “Overall for the first day out, I was extremely pleased,” Pinkerton said. “We had a lot more positives than negatives.” Arkansas handled Neosho County in the first game of the fall season. Senior Ashley Carter led the Lady’Backs with two hits and two RBIs. Junior Shana Easley added two hits while sophomore pitcher Sarah Topham recorded a no-hitter in five innings of work. Topham finished with eight strikeouts and two walks before sophomore Cassy Long and freshman Katy Henry split the last two innings. Pinkerton said he was pleased with the Lady’Backs first outing. “I thought we played well,” he said. “Sarah did a great job. If she can carry that start into the spring we’ll be in good shape.” Sophomore Kallie Foglesong broke a scoreless tie in the third inning as she singled to right field and scored junior Mindy O’Malley, who reached base on an error. The Lady’Backs added two more runs to take a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning. “In the third, we took advantage of Neosho’s mistakes,” Pinkerton said. Arkansas added three runs on four hits in the fourth inning. Carter started the Lady’Back rally when she knocked a single to right field scoring sophomore Rachel LeMaster and O’Malley. Carter then scored on Easley’s center field single. Even though Neosho scored two runs in the seventh inning, it wasn’t enough to stop the Lady’Backs and prolong the game. “We only made one mental and one physical mistake and at this time in the fall I was pleased with that,” Pinkerton said. In the Lady’Backs second game, Arkansas needed all seven innings to beat Bacone. O’Malley’s two–out RBI single in the seventh scored pinch runner Topham to take the contest. Junior Barbara-Jean Southmayd paced the Lady’Backs with three hits including a single that started the seventh inning rally. Senior Zenobia Davison reached base as she beat out the throw to first on a bunt. LeMaster advanced Topham to third on a sacrifice bunt before O’Malley’s single. Junior Valanna Lyons started the game for the Lady’Backs and recorded four strikeouts and allowed two hits in five innings before turning the ball over to freshman Kelly Ninemire. Ninemire fanned five batters allowing one hit in two innings. Lyons and Ninemire combined to throw the Lady’Backs’s first shutout of the fall season. Pinkerton said he was happy with Lyons’s and Ninemire’s performance. “We had five strong innings out of Valanna and I was really pleased with that,” he said. “I think Ninemire had a good outing as she kept them off balance.” Offensively, the Lady’Backs chalked eights hits but left eight stranded around the diamond. “We have to take advantage when an opportunity presents itself like we did in the seventh,” Pinkerton said. The Lady’Backs overpowered Connors State in the third game. Arkansas’s bats fired 10 hits in the nightcap with Carter leading the charge slugging three hits. “I think we came out in the first inning and set the tone of the game,” Pinkerton said. “For two games in a row we played seven innings of solid softball.” Foglesong added two hits and two RBIs for the Lady’Backs, while freshman Heather Rankin recorded two hits also. Junior Linzee Roby tallied the win in the circle as Connors State’s only run came from Ashley Fleming’s left field, solo homerun. Henry finished the game for the Lady’Backs as she had four strikeouts in three innings. For more information on Arkansas softball, go to –LADY RAZORBACKS–